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FEB. 



STEPHEN KING 


SHUTTER 

ISLAND 

Scorsese 


Sick set visits! 
You can't escape 

THE CRAZIES 


CARINFEVER2: 

SPRING FEVER 

Fanic at the prom 



goes nuts 

DAYRREAKERS 


Vampire secrets 


THE 

WOLFMAN 

THE BEAST IS BACK! 


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Nintendo. © 2006 Nintendo. © 2009 Sonypfctores OfOital Inc. 
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of the Entertainment Software Association. 






FEBRUARY 2010 


GUTS 


24 OUT OF THE “CABIN” That flesheating virus 
isn’t content with just a handful of victims in “Cabin 
Fever 2: Spring Fever.” 

30 THREE SIDES TO THE STORY The terrors of 

the nautical nightmare “Triangle” aren’t as cut-and- 
dried as they first appear. 

36 “CRAZIES” DAYS, “CRAZIES” NIGHTS The 

filmmaking team revisiting George A. Romero’s 
shocker are teaching an old story new Trixie. 

42 IT’S “WOLFMAN,” JACK And he’s finally about 
to howl on the big screen in the long-awaited 
megabudget period chiller. 

50 SCARES OF A DIFFERENT “COLOUR” Italy s 

Ivan Zuccon makes an H.P. Lovecraft scenario his own 
in “Colour from the Dark.” 

54 WHAT /7EAUKSCARES STEPHEN KING? 

The author’s choice of the top 21st-century fright 
feature may not be the one you expect. 

60 GIVE HIM A “BREAK” Makeup FX artist Steve 
Boyle has been bloody busy on “Daybreakers” and 
other monster showcases. 

74 THE KEYS TO THE “KINGDOM” For 

screenwriter Stephen Lodge in the ’70s, it was all 
about putting his fear of “Spiders” on the screen. 


GRAVY 


4 ELEGY American Fear Market 2009 


MONSTER INVASION Scorsese scares again on 
“Shutter Island”; After Dark’s “Hidden” agenda and 
“Zombies of Mass Destruction”; deadly game of 
“Paintball” 


48 HORRORCADE For true chills, “Left 4 Dead 2” has 
your number; a little more “Evil” in new “Resident” 

66 DR. CYCLOPS’ DUNGEON OF DISCS “Silent” 

and “Sorority” slashers stalk anew; “Vampire Killers” 
not quite fearless enough 

72 NIGHTMARE LIBRARY King-sized tension to be 
found “Under the Dome”; all hail “The New Dead” 


80 CLASSIFIED AD VAULT 


FANGORIA (ISSN 0164*21 1 1, Canadian GST number: R- 1 24704826) is published monthly except July and December by The Brooklyn Company, Inc., 250 West 49th Street, Suite 304, 

/ 3rd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10019. This is issue #290; entire contents are copyright © 20 1 0 by The Brooklyn Company. Inc. All rights reserved. Reprint or reproduction of any material in part or in whole— ' ’ 

, . including the reprinting or posting of articles and graphics on any Internet or computer site — without the publishers' written permission is strictly forbidden. Periodicals postage paid at New York. N.Y. and 

additional mailing offices. Subscription rates; $54.47 for one year (10 issues) delivered in the U.S. Canadian and foreign subscriptions; $63.97 in U.S. funds only Postmaster: Send address changes to: ^ 

: FANGORIA Subscription Department, 250 West 49th Street, Suite 304.3rd Floor. New York. N.Y. 1 00 1 9. FANGORIA accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photos, art or other materials, but if • 

■ freelance submissions are accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope, they will be seriously considered and. if necessary, returned. Pnnted in the USA FANGORIA is a trademark of The Brooklyn ^ i j 

Company. Inc. Publications Agreement #40725002, Celebrate a New Year of Fear — nght here! , 



^FMi^LL F€AR MARATHON 


il'Ve been covering Santa Monica’s American Film Market for the last dozen years, and it is at this 
■ largely independent/intemational sales event where I’ve discovered such personal favorites as 
I [RECJ, The Descent, The Children, Martyrs and Pontypool. At last year’s 281h annual AFM, held 
November 4-11, over 400 movies were screened, with genre flicks stiU holding a major presence. Quali- 
tatively, however, horror at the 2009 AFM was a bit off. Even the latest efforts by fear masters Dario 
Argento and George A. Romero — Giallo and Survival of the Dead — proved hugely disappointing. Still, a 
few gems did emerge from my marathon moviegoing sessions, which you can glean from my AFM score- 
card below. (For more information on the AFM, go to http://www.ifta-online.org/afmyTiome.asp) 

UNDER THE MOUNTAIN: The sophomore effort from director Jonathan King ranks as something of 
a letdovra after his uproarious Black Sheep. The story, about mystical teenage twins batthng tentacled 
underground aliens, boasts good FX (see page 60) by Weta and co., but the Goosebumps-escyie story is 
never truly engaging. B 5 

THE CLINIC: This Aussie thriller cribs from Wolf Creek (terror in the outback), /nside (baby steal- 
ing) and even TV’s Survivor. Supposedly based on a true story (yeah, right). The C/mi'c begins promis- 
ingly, but ultimately goes nowhere. B! 

THE TORTURED: The Saw series’ Twisted Pictures produced this thriller about an angry couple 
(Jesse Metcalfe and Erika Christensen) who kidnap the maniac (Bill Moseley) who murdered their 
child. As the parents give their prisoner a taste of his own gruesome medicine, our sympathies begin to 
shift. Moseley does a fine job, but I saw the ending of this violent entry coming from a mile away. § B 

MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE: Though Nosferatu the Vampyre director Werner Herzog 
has assembled a killer cast (Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Udo Kier, Brad Dourif, etc.), this psycho- 
drama is a total bore. The movie adapts a true story about a troubled man (Buff’s Shannon) who runs a 
sword through his mother, and the detective (Dafoe) who arrives on the scene to suss it all out. Most of 
the film plays as if the cast ad-Ubbed their scenes, but only Kier seems to be having fun in a movie 
where nothing happens. S 

WAKE WOOD: This Irish chiller starts out promisingly: Another grieving couple, whose young 
daughter was killed by a vicious dog, moves to a secluded town that practices a most unusual ritual — 
the local pagans can raise the dead for three days, giving the bereaved a last chance at closmre. But as 
in aU these films inspired by “The Monkey’s Paw,” bringing someone back comes with a price . . . Wake 
Wood's first three-quarters prove atmospheric and effective, but then the film devolves into Pet 
Sematary-sty^e bloodletting that takes away from the earher mood and gloom. SB? 

DOGHOUSE: In Jake [Evil Aliens] West’s most accomplished and sharpest-looking film yet, a group 
of homy blokes head to a deserted country town where the women supposedly outnumber the guys 
three to one. Only problem: All the ladies are zombies! That little twist elevates West’s “zomedy," and 
though this is no Shaun of the Dead, Doghouse wUl please living-dead fans. ?Sg 

DETOUR: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A couple driving on a dark, lonely road mn afoul 
of an isolated house of crazies who have a snuff-film webcast set up in their basement. You can predict 
every beat in this sUck Norwegian thriller. B I 

MACABRE: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A family of lunatics with a taste for human 
flesh ensnares a group of yoimg people in their creepy abode. This Indonesian torture flick is pime tor- 
ture, though lead actress Shareeta Daanish plays a great psycho bitch. 9 

BURNING BRIGHT (a.k.a. RAVENOUS): The plot sounds so Syfy Original Movie, but this teen-girl- 
trapped-with-a-tiger-in-the-house movie is suspenseful and more logical than you’d expect. Added 
bonus: no CGI! The big cat’s the real deal. BBS 

[REC] 2: Jaume Balaguerd and Paco Plaza’s sequel picks up just where the last film ended and has 
a priest (!) leading a SWAT team into the quarantined building. Sure, the verite style is on its last legs, 
but [REC] 2 packs enough surprises and a killer ending to make the familiar material worthwhile. BBS 
THE NEW DAUGHTER: Single dad Kevin Costner (!) moves with his young kids to a house 
in the woods, where things soon begin going bump in the night. New Daughter's early reels come 
across as kinda flat, but once the creatures show up at the end and Costner starts firing his shot- 
' gun, the story perks up. Directed by [REC] scripter Luis Berdejo. BBS 

Yikes, I only made it through half the movies! Come back next issue for more pithy screening 
comments from the AFM. 

— Anthony Timpone, 
Editor 

tony@starloggroup. com 




February 20 1 0 FANGORI A #290 


\ The Brooklyn Company. Inc. 

250 West 49th Street, Suite 304,3rd Floor 
New York. NY 10019 

www.fangorla.com 

President 

THOMAS DeFEO 
Editor 

ANTHONYTIMPONE 

Managing Editor 

MICHAEL GINGOLD 

Executive Art Director 

W.R. MOHALLEY 

Contributing Editors 

DAVID McDonnell 

ALLAN DART 
TOM WEAVER 


Literary Associate 

LINDA MAROTTA 


Contributing Writers 

CHRIS ALEXANDER 
LOGAN DeSISTO 
JAN DOENSE 
ROBERTO E.D'ONOFRIO 
BRAM EISENTHAL 
TED GEOGHEGAN 
CHRIS HABERMAN 
MICHAEL HELMS 
STEPHEN KING 
JEREMIAH KIPP 
PHILIP NUTMAN 
BRIAN O'TOOLE 
AUDREY QUARANTA 
MARK SALISBURY 
MARC SHAPIRO 
WILLIAM SEAN WILSON 

Editorial Assistant 

SAMUEL ZIMMERMAN 


Director of New Media Deveiopmenti 
James 2ahn 

Production Assistants: Dee Erwine.Tony Flores, 
Maria Newborn. DrewTmnin. Gilbert Geigel. 
THANK YOU: A/one m the Dark ll's cast & crew, 
Craig Bankey. Lauren Bancit. Daniel Benmayor. Lucia 
Bernard. Steve Boyle, Cabin Fever 2's cast & crew.jim 
Chaparas, Justin Cook, Cotour from the Dork’s cast 
and crew. Holly Connors. The Crazies’ cast & crew, 
Bette Einbinder.Yon Elvira, Sara Finder. Alan Gavoni, 
Jimmy George, Rupert Glasson. Greg Hatanaka. 
Kevin Hamedani. Colette Hollander. Ramon Isao, 
Chela Johnson, Rebecca Johnson. Kristoffer Joner, 
Alan Jones, Keaton Kail. Laeta Kalogridis. Adam 
Kersh. Rebecca Klein. Stephen Lodge, Kameron 
Ming. Aimee Morris. Todd Newell, Pal 0ie, Walter 
Olsen, Laura Salvato, Jennifer Sandler. Daniela Sap- 
kar. Sophie Scott. Melissa Smolensky. Nathaniel 
Thompson. Triangle's cast & crew. Chuck Verrill, 
Clint Weiler. The Wb/fmon’s cast & crew and Nicole 
Yavastle 


Dedicated to Edward Woodward (1930-2009) 


Cover Photo: Copyright Universal 

For Advertising Information, Contact: 

Bekah McKendry, bekah.fangona@yahoo.com 
For Classifieds Information, Contact: 

Dee Erwine, dee@fangoria.com 





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THE FANGORIA FRIGHT FILE OF UP-TO-THE-MINUTE 
NEWSBREAKS AND OTHER HORRIBLE HAPPENINGS 


SHUmR ISLAND 

Crazy with Scorsese 


F or anyone who has navigated the 

dank corridors and padded rooms of 
the Ashecliffe Hospital for the Crimi- 
nally Insane in the pages of Dennis Lehane's 
novel Shutter Island, it's hard to contain 
one's excitement that the place and its 
denizens are coming to life on screen via 
director Martin Scorsese. In fact. Shutter 
Island's screenwriter herself, Laeta Kalo- 
gridis, is virtually bursting at the seams with 
enthusiasm when she discusses adapting the 
book for the movie (opening February 1 9 
from Paramount). "I really love the film," 
she says. "I'm inarticulate because of how 
much I love it." 

This is encouraging for the many fans of 
Lehane's story, since reservations about film- 
ing a work so packed with detail aren't 
campletely unfounded. While Kalogridis 
admits it wasn't the easiest of tasks, she 
adds, "It was actually a lot of fun. The book 
is very layered and emotionally complex, so 
it was extremely rewarding, because I had a 
lot to work with. A number of the changes 
had to do with how to best bring out things 
that were never actually spoken. There's quite 
a bit of interior dialogue going on that, with- 
out voiceover — which we didn't use — couldn't 
really be part of the movie. It was fun, but 
definitely challenging." 

Shutter Island tells of two U.S. Deputy 
Marshals, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) 
and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), assigned to 
investigate the disappearance of a dis- 
turbed murderess at Ashecliffe in 1 954. 

What most likely proved a significant hur- 
dle were the aforementioned interior trips 
through Teddy's mind and the copious small 
details that set up later payoffs or 
domino effects. 

"For the most part, I tried to focus 
on creating Teddy's character in such 
a way that you're able to follow his 
emotional journey, and still feel as disori- 
ented as he does without being confused," 
says Kalogridis. "It's difficult when you're 
compacting so much, and also trying to fol- 
low a very emotionally complicated line. 

"in terms of choosing what events stayed 
in," she continues, "it originally takes place 


over several days and we whittled it down to 
two or three, and there are many red-herring 
events in the book that we didn't include. 
There was also a need to unify and external- 
ize some of what Teddy is feeling. That's a 
large part of the ways his dreams and visions 
work in the movie: trying to make him and 
his interactions with what's happening more 
visceral in a visual way. I feel we preserved 
the bones of the book and what it's about." 

Written before the acclaimed director 
came on board (making his first horror/sus- 
pense film since 1991's Cape Fear), Kalogri- 
dis' initial draft was also very much retained. 


"I did do some rewriting, but a lot of that 
was relatively minor," she recalls. "We were 
all very much on the same page in terms of 
what the story was." 

Based on Shutter Island's trailer, it seems 
the movie (which also stars Ben Kingsley, 
Emily Mortimer, Michelle Williams, Max von 
Sydow, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle 
Haley, Elias Koteas and Ted Levine) has 
cranked up the spookier aspects from the 
novel's more thriller-esque tone. This came 
about via a combination of Kalogridis' way 
inta the material and Scorsese's inspirations. 

"My interest in the book stemmed from 
my own personal fascination with the war 
between psychopharmacology and psycho- 
surgery that took place in the late 1 940s 
and '50s," she explains. "Each side had the 
fervent belief that they were right, and the 
care of patients and the mysteries of mental 
illness got lost in the ideological battle. The 
horror of the way people were treated, and 
a lot of the more nightmarish historical 
aspects af how we've treated the criminally 
insane, were very, very interesting to me. 

"I was also intrigued by the terrifying 
aspects of the place Teddy finds himself," she 
continues. "An institution like this is a fright- 
ening place for any sane person to be 
marooned in, much less to go through these 
threads of discovering that things are not at 
all what you think they are. Also, Marty 
would screen movies during preproduction, 
and we'd watch these amazing '40s noirs as 
well as Val Lewton films. There was a Hitch- 
cock/Lewton/noir fusion thing going on, 
which on one hand was what I had always 
had in mind while I was adapting the book, 
but on the other, I couldn't have imagined it 
being turned into something so visually 
amazing, lush, deep and textured." 

Currently toiling away on an adaptation 
of the popular manga/ anime Ghost in the 
Shell, Kalogridis isn't sure what else is com- 
ing up, but the writer (who also provided 
the English-language script for the Russian 
hit Night Watch) notes, "Most of my interest 
does lie in genre material. I like big explo- 
sions, swords, military hardware. I'm not at 
all opposed to spandex in any of its forms." 

And while the future is exciting, she re- 
iterates, “Shutter Island was one of the 
best experiences of my life, and I don't 
believe you could ever really replicate the 
experience of working with Marty. He is 
just incredible." 

— Samuel Zimmerman 


t 


Photos: Copyright Paramount 






Footsteps Publishing is ready to 
accept submissions to its ... . 


WE ARE 
Pf LOOKING 
TO PUBLISH 
HORROR 
I STORIES 
» * IN A 
^ GRAPHIC 
ARTS STYLE 


For now, we are looking for stories that 
have already been published by 
established writers. 


We prefer horror stories that are dark 
edgy, and sexy. 


An Honorarium of $1000 will be given to 
the writer whose work is chosen. At 
this point in time we only ask that you 
contact us if interested and NOT send 
any stories. 


If you have a short story that you feel will lend itself to a graphic story, usually done 
^ four parts, then please contact: Bill Munster at bmunster@mhcable.com .'j 
or mail to Footsteps Publishing, Box 75, Round Top, NY 12473 



« 


♦ # 



• • 



f 




"Al 

ONE IN THE DANK 

H” 


A witch of a sequel 



O K, Alone in the 
Dark II (hitting 
DVD January 
26 from Vivendi) is an 
Uwe Boll film — the 
director of the original 
2005 video -game- 
based feature takes a producing credit. But 
the real dirty work is being done by the 
Brotherhood of Blood writing/directing team 


of Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer, who 
co-scripted the first movie and are well 
aware that anything with Boll's name on it 
carries a heavy set of baggage. 

"We know what a lot of people think of 
Uwe's films," says a candid Scheerer during 
a Fango visit to Alone Ifs set. "There have 
been far better movies than the first Alone in 
the Dark, and there have been far worse." 

Roesch acknowledges that Alone in the 
Dark II, which stars Rick {Die Another Day] 
Yune (replacing the first film's Christian Slater), 
Lance Henriksen and more B-genre 
stars than you can shake a stick at, 
doesn't really follow the lead of the first 
film. "It is in the spirit of the video game," 
he says, "but it's a different story and 
Edward Carnby is a completely different 
person. We always loved the character, and 
felt it would be too bad to not come up with 
another adventure for him. And so we went 
into this with the idea that we had the free- 
dom to completely change everything." 

Alone in the Dark II, which the directors 


claim is sort of a prequel but not really (you 
figure that one out), finds Carnby taking up 
with a group of witch hunters on the trail of a 
notorious and legendary sorceress. 
The witch hunters want Carnby on 
their side. The witch wants Carnby on 
her side. Nothing is seemingly cut- 
and-dried in this horror/ mystery. 
Shooting for 20 days on Los Angeles 
and New York locations, the sequel 
also features such genre luminaries as 
Bill Moseley, Danny Trejo, Jason Con- 
nery, P.J. Soles and Michael Pare, plus 
Boll regular Zack Ward, Skinwalkers' 
Natassia Malthe and up-and-coming 
actress Rachel Specter. That's a lot of 
names for a low-budget project. 
"What can I say?" chuckles Scheerer. 
"Lance loved the script. Everybody 
loved the script." 

On the day of Fango's visit, fHen- 
riksen and Specter, inside a cramped 
set on an equally cramped sound- 
stage, are laying down some back- 
story as Henriksen, doing his best... 
well, Lance Henriksen, is telling the 
tale of the witch in low, serious tones. 
Specter is doing a really good job of 
not understanding. In its own quiet 
way, it's the classic horror setup. 

The sequel came together in 
November 2007, when Roesch and 
Scheerer met up with Boll at the 
American Film Market. The trio struck 
a deal for Alone II and, at the produ- 
cer's insistence, agreed to write and 
direct the movie together. "From the 
beginning, we were thinking, 'No 
more creatures,' " Roesch recalls. "We didn't 


have the budget, and to 
try and put the monsters 
from the first film into 
this one would have 
been ridiculous. Besides, 
we had been thinking 
about what we would 
like to see that we hadn't seen in a long time, 
and we decided that was a good witch story, 
so we went with that." 

For Yune, awaiting his turn in front of the 
camera in a quiet dressing room, the notion 
of taking the lead role in Alone in the Dark II 
was enticing. "I knew it was a sequel based 
on a video game, but I had never done a 
small, independent horror movie," he says. 
"All my experience has been in big-budget 
studio action films. I knew going into this that 
all the resources might not be there, but that 
they were making up for it in a lot of other 
ways — like passion." 

Always looking at the bigger picture, 

Yune feels there's much more to his incarna- 
tion of Edward Carnby than a mere head- 
buster. "I think of him as somebody who is 
trying to find his morality," the actor says. 
"He's had some success on his own, and now 
he's in a bit of a slump. He's kind of a good 
guy, but he has a not-so-good side as well — 
a Han Solo antihero type. This is easily more 
dramatic than anything I've done in a while. 
My last three films were all action flicks. This 
has more of the human element for me than 
the guns and the usual action stuff." 

In between setups, the directors are good- 
naturedly evasive when it comes to the ques- 
tions that are always asked but rarely 
honestly answered. "The budget?" Scheerer 
laughs. "Use yaur imagination. You know 
we're not allowed to talk about things like 
that. You can say that it's under $5 million, 
but you didn't hear it from us. Oh, and I'm 
sure you want to know if everything has gone 
according to plan. All I can say to that is, 

'Are you kidding?' " 

— ^Morc Shapiro 






THE DIRECTOR OF "ENTRAILS OF A VIRGIIT ORINBS YOO A GORY, 
CAMPY JAPANESE MASTERPIECE OF SCI-FI/HDRNOR CINEMAI 
FORGET THOSE GIANT ROOOER-SOITED MONSTERS... ITS THE FLESH 
EATINGIDMOIES TOKYD NEOIS TO WORRY AOOOTI 


A meteor lands in Japan and the fallout creates a "shield"around 
Tokyo, encasing the dty in a foggy darkness. A state of martial 
law is declared. People are in a panic as violent crime and 
corruption spreads throughout the region and punk gangs are 
ruling the streets. As if things weren't bad enough, a chemical 
reaction from the meteor unleashes a deadly virus and now the 
dead are coming back to life as flesh -eating zombies! 

K-ko (played by Japanese wrestling sensation, Cutie Suzuki) is 
asked to help find survivors and given a bulletproof 
leather-and-blade "Battle Suit" to help her on her rescue 
mission. Punching, blasting and decapitating the zombie 
hordes with her armor and weapons, she discovers something 
even more evil. . . a sadistic military general who wants to use 
the zombies in his own plan for world domination! 


CULT CINEMA COLLECTION 


the ASIAN 


Directed by Kazuo "Gaira" Komizu, BATTLE GIRL; THE LIVING 
DEAD IN TOKYO BAY is gruesome, campy Ki-h fun, filled with 
wild special effects, a crazy new-wave synth soundtrack and 
enough gore to satisfy horror film fans! 


SPECIAL FEATURES: 

• New Digital Transfer from Original Vault Materials 
Presented in the Original Filmed Aspect Ratio of 1 .33:1 

• Japanese Language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Sound 

• Newly Translated Removable English Subtitles 

• All-New Video Interview with Director Kazuo "Gaira" 
Komizu (53 mins.) 


AVAILABLE: FEBRUARY 23. 2BIB 

S24.95 S.RP 


NOT RATED / 1992 / 74 MINS. / COLOR / NTSC 
DOLBY DIGITAL 2.0 STEREO / SFD0096 




films 



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e 





C offin Rock isn't a new music subgenre, 
but an actual geographic location that 
lends its name to a freshly hatched 
Australian psychothriller that debuts Stateside 
via IFC Films' video-on-demand service Feb- 
ruary 3. Based on real and intrinsic human 
fears, the first feature by Rupert Glasson is 
happily described by its writer/director as 
"Fatal Attraction with more blood." 

Coffin Roclds storyline revolves around 
married couple Rob (Storm Warning's Robert 
Taylor) and Jess (Lisa Chappell), who are 


rapidly approaching middle age and want to 
start a family, but need to turn to a fertility 
clinic for assistance. Anxieties in their rela- 
tionship are already surfacing when, after an 
argument, an inebriated Jess is picked up by 
a young Irish stranger, Evan (Sam Parsonson). 
Jess recklessly gets it on with Evan, which 
only serves to escalate everyone's troubles as 
the latter's psychotic behavior swiftly begins 
to dominate the proceedings. Set in the titular 
tiny and isolated fishing village, where it al- 
ways seems to be raining. Coffin Rock begins 
on a gloomy note (with a great score by John 
Gray) and spirals downward from there. 

The superbly cast film also features vet- 
eran actor Terry Camilleri (whose credits 
range from Peter Weir's The Cars That Ate 
Paris to playing Napoleon in Bill & 

Ted's Excellent Adventure} as Tony, one 
of Rob's fishing pals, in one of the film's 
most harrowing scenes. Coffin Rock's 
producers are Ayisha Davies — like 
Glasson (whom she also manages), mak- 
ing her feature debut — and David Lightfoot, 
one of the prime movers behind Greg 
McLean's Wolf Creek and Rogue. 

While on a tour promoting Coffin Rock's 
local theatrical release, Glasson reveals, "It 
started out as a monster movie about a 


woman who's pregnant and gives 
birth to this beast that eats her. My 
wife was pregnant at the time and 
didn't take kindly to that, so we 
changed it to something about in- 
fidelity and murder. She liked that 
a lot better." 

Script development continued over two 
years before shooting commenced in Adelaide 
in July 2008. "It turned into something more 
emotionally real and interesting to me," Glas- 
son says. "It had horror roots, and working 
with Dave Light- 
foot certainly had 
an influence on 
those aspects — 
but it had become 
something else. 

"Anxiety 
about becoming 
a parent is a big 
part of all the 
main roles," 
Glasson adds. 
Working with the 
cast was a source 
of joy for the 
filmmaker, who 
tailored his script 
for certain play- 
ers. "The part of 
Rob was written 
for Rob Taylor; it 


COFFIN ROCK 


Natal attraction 


was never going 
to be anyone 
else," he recalls. 
"He had to be 
the very muscu- 
lar, kind of 'unof- 
ficial leader of 

the town' type of guy, because other- 
wise the impotence would mean less. If 
he were a scared little guy, it wouldn't 
have that impact." 

When it came to the movie's malev- 
olent stalker, Glasson believes he got 
very lucky in landing Parsonson. "Sam's 
wonderful," he says. "He has this amaz- 
ing ability to turn on and off at the drop 
of a hat. One moment he would be 
killing someone, and the next he was 
making fart jokes. His character is quite 
unhinged; he wants to be a parent, a 
father, but he has no idea of how to go 
about it because he's loony." 

Glasson also notes with a laugh that 
Parsonson willingly participated in a 
scene that could earn Coffin Rock mare 
than a little notoriety. We won't reveal 
the specifics, but the filmmaker says, 

"The scene with the fish was filmed as 
written. Sam was not so pleased about 
the second take, though. When I said 
that we'd actually need to do it again, 
every head on the boat just turned 
around and stared. 

"On the other hand," Glasson con- 
tinues, "Lisa was gorgeous. It was a 
hard role to cast; to get a quality actress 


of that age, in this country, is rare. Very 
often, they've gone on to be big stars ar 
they're not working anymore. So to find 
someone as good as her, with a real sexual- 
ity and an earthiness as well, and at the age 
where a woman can be stressing about hav- 
ing babies, was hard." 

Going back further, Glassan recalls that 
there was always an impetus to make Coffin 
Rock from the moment the idea first came up 
in a pub in St. Kilda. "We were in the Dog's 
Bar, and it just went from there," he says. 
"Sam Carruthers, who runs the place, orga- 
nized a consortium, and they raised the 
money to become equity investors. That was 
a wonderful help to us." 

Originally a graphic designer, Glasson 
went on to film school and made a couple of 
short movies — one of which. Teratoma, 
played at Sundance and numerous other fes- 
tivals. 'That's how I connected with Ayisha 
and David in the first place," he says. "We 
got on very well and had been looking for 
something to make. I just kept writing bad 
movies, and this is the first one we all liked." 

His second film, he adds, will represent a 
break from the horror/dark thriller genres. 
"I've just written the next film we're going to 
do together, about a bank heist, I just can't 
make anything without some blood and gore 
in it, though, so that will definitely be a part 
of it. I can't help myself." 

— Michael Helms 


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This is the sort 
of toy that both 
children and 
adults would 
probably wont 
to stay Hiddea. 


O f the 8 Films to Die For in this year's 
After Dark Horrorfest, only one 
comes all the way from Norway: 
Hidden (Sk/ullj, the new movie by writer/di- 
rector Pal 0ie, whose 2003 feature debut 
Dark Woods was the first fright film made in 
that country in over 30 years. Hidden tells 
the story of businessman Kai Koss (Norwe- 
gian star Kristoffer Joner, also one of the 
leads of Dark Woods], who returns to his 
birthplace after his mother's death. 

As he searches through her spooky old 
house in the woods and relives painful child- 
hood memories, a series of creepy events 
unfolds, eventually leading to murder and 
mayhem. All this coincides with the appear- 
ance of a mysterious hooded figure. Could it 
be that Kai's presumed long-dead brother 
has returned as well to take care of some 
business of his own? We won't divulge more, 
but nothing is what it appears to be in this 
strong psychological chiller, which benefits 
from a fine performance by Joner and 
impressive Norwegian forest locations. 

According to 0ie, it's no coincidence that 
both of his features are set amidst the trees. 

"I have lived for 20 years in Bergen, which is 
on the west coast of Norway and is surround- 
ed by lots of mountains and woods," he ex- 
plains. "Norwegian mythology, which 
includes many bizarre fairy tales, was 
part of my upbringing. So to me, it's 
kind of logical to shoot my movies in 
the wilderness. Besides, it is also a 
clean and cheap location. Nature is very 
exciting. It may seem dull at first, but when 
people move in, things start to happen." 

0ie first tackled the Hidden screenplay 
about a year after Dark Woods' release. 
Right from the start, he had Joner in mind for 
the main role — not just because he's currently 


a major star in Norway, but also because he 
happens to live in Bergen as well. 

"We've been friends since Dark Woods," 
0ie says. "Most Norwegian filmmakers and 
actors live in Oslo, which is a little over 300 
miles from Bergen. When we shoot here, 
they usually only come over for a few days. 
With Kristoffer, I could discuss the progress 
of the script on a regular basis. It was a very 
close collaboration, and he was able to more 
or less develop his own character." 

Joner has carved out an impressive act- 
ing career in a relatively short time; genre 
fans may remember him from Pal Sletaune's 
superb 2005 psychological horror film Next 
Door. The actor recalls his collaboration with 
0ie on Hidden as a very productive one. 

"Pal is kind of a strange man who has his 
own logic as a filmmaker," he says. "I see 
him as a painter. He loves to paint pictures of 
forests and mountains and then put people 
within them. He fascinates me. I said yes to 
Hidden even before I had read anything, 
because I trust him that much." 

Kai Koss is a very complex character — 
and initially, not a very likable one. Joner 
notes, "I was always wondering what Kai 
would be like in his own habitat, since we only 
see him away from home in this wilderness. 
Maybe he sleeps next to his bed on the floor? 
Obviously there is something wrong with this 
guy, and I hope the audience is willing to 
bear with him long enough to accept him." 

"Kai is the man from nowhere," 0ie 
adds. "You can only come to sympathize 
with him over the course of the film. Working 
with Kristoffer on the script brought an 
incredible depth to the role." 

When Dark Woods became a box-office 
hit in Norway, it opened the door to an 
impressive number of equally successful local 


horror features, such as the two Cold Prey 
films (with a third on the way). Next Door, 
Manhunt, Dead Snow and now Hidden. "We 
are a nation that is hungry for genre mov- 
ies!" 0ie says. "Our film industry benefits 
from a system of government subsidies that 
used to be accessible only for art-house 
movies, but that has gradually opened up to 
more commercial films such as Hidden. I 
would say that 50 percent of the approxi- 
mately 20-25 feature-length films made in 
Norway every year are commercial." 

"I love the horror genre," Joner says, 
"because it allows filmmakers to experiment. 
Also, the success of Dark Woods has made it 
easier to find private investors willing to put 
money into genre movies, because they've 
noticed that they can make a profit." 

Since the current popularity of Eurohorror 
has already drawn many filmmakers from 
overseas to Hollywood, the question remains 
if 0ie can see himself making such a move in 
the future. "With all due respect, Hollywood 
doesn't really attract me," he admits. "I have 
my family here, and I very much enjoy mak- 
ing my films in Norway. Besides, I'm too old. 

I did get some offers from Hollywood for the 
remake rights to my movies, but nothing con- 
crete has happened yet." 

Instead, 0ie is working on various new 
projects, at least one of which will be a hor- 
ror film. "It is based on historic fact and cen- 
ters around a leprosy clinic where, about 
1 00 years ago, unorthodox experiments 
were carried out in order to find a vaccine." 
And Joner recently won the Sitges film festi- 
val's prestigious Golden Melies Award for his 
directorial debut, the short film Cold and 
Dry. He is now planning to divide his time 
between acting jobs and helming more films, 
both short and feature-length. 

— Jan Doense 




Photos: Copyright IFC Films 





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Joe (Russell Hodgkinson) discovered 
the most concrete prool possible of 
the Zombies of Moss Oestmim. 


T aking a page from 

George A, Romero's play- 
book, writer/director 
Kevin Hamedani and his co- 
scripter Ramon Isao have brought 
the undead back into the realm 
of political satire. Picked up to be 
part of this year's After Dark Hor- 
rorfest 4, their effort Zombies of 
Moss Destruction is a film made 
up of "anything I found absurd 
during eight years of the Bush 
administration," Hamedani says. 

"It's in the vein of Evil Dead 
meets Dr. Strangelove in that ifs 
very socially conscious," he con- 
tinues. "In a nutshell, it's about a 
Middle Eastern-American girl 
named Frida [Janette Armand] in 
the small town of Port Gamble, 

Washington. She's accused of starting a 
zombie epidemic because she's Iranian and 
the news attributes it to a terrorist attack, and 
has to fight her way through both the ghouls 
and her racist neighbors." 

Inspired by the desire to keep their film 
timely and relevant, Hamedani and Isao cre- 
ated Tom (Doug Fahl), the film's other main 
character, who's gay and in town with his 
partner in order to finally come out. "Romero 
did an African-American in the late '60s as 
a protagonist," the director notes. "So we did 
a Middle Eastern and a gay guy, because it 
just seemed that for my generation — I'm in 
my mid-20s — that's our civil rights move- 
ment: the homophobia and then all the xeno- 
phobia that came to the surface after 9/1 1 ." 

While the film is intended to make you 
think a little, Isao insists that its main goal is 
to give its audience a good time. He explains 
that the commentary was important, "but 
only for its comic potential. Tm not tricking 
myself into thinking this stuff has any polemic 
value or anything." 

The humor may have taken precedence, 
but Hamedani — who is of Middle Eastern 
descent himself — and Isao still took careful 
steps in writing their leads, making 
sure the line wasn't crossed from satire 
into caricature. "The gay characters 
were the hardest," Hamedani admits. 
"Ramon and I are straight, so we were 
afraid of insulting people. But luckily, 
growing up in Seattle, we both had a lot of 
gay friends and we spent some time talking 
with them, and a lot of their coming-out sto- 
ries are actually in the film. We had them 
read the script and asked, 'Is this insulting, 
and is this over the top?' We got it cleared 


by our friends in the gay community." 

The same went for their portrayals of a 
televangelist and his Bible-thumping followers. 

"I have a friend who's a priest," Hamedani 
notes. "I'm not very religious, so I don't really 
believe in judging others, and he accepts 
whoever is coming to his church, so I trust just 
him — but he also believes in Jesus and all that 
stuff. I showed him the script too, and had 
him sign off on all the religious material and 
say, 'This is great' or 'This is not really cor- 
rect within the Bible or the church.' We had a 
lot of people look over our screenplay." 

As far as the movie's non-living are con- 
cerned, "They're classic slow zombies, the 
way I prefer them," the director says. Like 
anyone attempting an effective horror/com- 
edy, the duo understood that the threat of the 
undead, slow or fast, must feel real, and they 
approached that suspense through one par- 
ticular method. "We made sure that when 
someone dies, they die, and anyone was 
game. I don't like gratuitous horror, but I do 
like it brutal. Anyone can die at any time, 
because that's how a horror film should be." 

Isao echoes Hamedani's statement, say- 
ing, "The key, as always, is character. You've 
got to have people whose continued survival 
is worth rooting for. Plus, the first zombie 
attack is unexpected enough to let the audi- 
ence know that we mean business; after that, 
all bets are off." 

Shot on a Sony F900 and the RED ONE 
camera, ZMD was lensed in the corporate- 
owned town of Port Townsend, Washington, 
just outside Seattle. "We rented the town for 
a month and were able to do whatever we 
wanted; it was great," Hamedani recalls. 
Whatever they wanted on the special 


makeup front was fulfilled by Tom 
Devlin of 1 31 3 FX. "He's amaz- 
ing. The gore is over the top. It's 
so gross, it's funny, and that's 
what we were going for." 

Now that the film has 
received accolades at festivals 
and has been included as one of 
the 8 Films to Die For, both 
Hamedani and Isao are consider- 
ing their next moves. The former 
admits he's not so sure he'll fol- 
low up with another genre flick: 

"I love horror and I'll always go 
back to it, but there are so many 
other stories I want to tell." 

Isao, on the other hand, is 
willing to stay "as long as horror 
will have me. I've just finished 
another horror/action script I'm 
really excited about. Seriously, it's tough for 
me to get completely away from gore for 
some reason. It pops up in an alarming 
amount of the stuff I write, for film or fiction. 
Stay tuned." 

— Samuel Zimmerman 


If you (on foce even more terror, (heck out 
two more of the features ploying os port of 
After Dork Horrorfest 4. In Kill Theory 
(above), the directoriol debut of Project 
CreeaBghPs Chris Moore, college friends ore 
forced to ploy deodly gomes by a manioc, 
while Joey Stewart's The Final (below) is 
obout outcast high-schoolers wreaking 
torturous revenge on their persecutors. 


I 


Photos: Copyright After Dark 








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P aintball the 
sport can be 
a fun way to 
relieve stress, a safe 
manner of testing 
your strategy/survival 
skills or a vehicle to 
let your inner hunter 
run free for a week- 
end. Paintball the 
movie (a Spanish 
thriller debuting in the 
U.S. as an IFC Films 
video-on-demand title 


January 29) sees a 
disparate group of 
people heading into a 
remote forest to par- 
take in some of that cathartic fake gunplay. 
This being the type of movie that's covered in 
FANGORIA, however, they soon come under 
assault with real bullets — and their myste- 
rious opponents' arsenal proves to 
include assorted sharp implements for 
causing close-quarters damage as well. 

A Filmax production shot in English 
with a cast headed by Brendan Mackey, 
Jennifer Matter, Robert Maskell and 
Patrick Regis, Paintball is the feature de- 
but of director Daniel Benmayor, who spent 
1 2 years helming commercials before he was 
offered Mario Schoendorff's initial draft. 
While he liked the basic scenario, "I was 
interested in trying a different approach," 
Benmayor says. "So we set out to deconstruct 
the screenplay, take the concept of a horror/ 
thriller film with paintball involved and start 
from scratch." 

The production was cast out of London, 
and while filming in English gave the project 
an undeniable commercial advantage, Ben- 
mayor notes another reason behind this deci- 
sion. "I was trying to make it believable in 
terms of not only what happens on screen, 
but the overall concept," he says. "Renegade 
paintball is a kind of sport you hardly see in 
Spanish-speaking countries. You see it in the 
U.S., the UK, France and Italy maybe, but not 
really in Latin regions, so it seemed right to do 
it in a language which would 
feel plausible to the story." 

Benmayor took a simi- 
larly realistic approach to 
filming the action and may- 
hem, often employing a 
handheld camera. Unlike 
many other horror films and 
thrillers that wield 
their verite lenses up 
close to their protago- 
nists/victims, however, 

Paintball contains 
numerous scenes shot at a 
distance. The director notes 
he was trying to convey the 
idea that "there's always 
somebody watching the 
game. When the audience 
sees the film, they'll have 


that sense of people being observed, and as 
the story evolves, they'll get to know the an- 
swers: who's doing the watching. The story- 


'PAINTBALL" 

Giving murder a shot 


telling and camerawork are linked together 
that way." 

For the actors caught up in the thick of 
the violence, as well as the crew, Benmayor's 
propensity for long, unbroken takes necessi- 
tated a great deal of choreography. 'That 
required a lot of precision from everyone," 
he recalls. "If we were at minute eight and 
someone didn't hit their mark, we'd be 
screwed and have to go back to the start. 
This being such a physical film, there was a 
lot of tension in those takes, and that's on the 
screen as well. The lead actors, spending 
many minutes in the same scene, really got 
into them; it wasn't like filming for 10 sec- 
onds, then an hour of waiting, then another 
1 0 seconds. Everyone enjoyed being so 
involved in it." 

The most complex setpiece is the first 
attack in a forest-bound automobile junk- 


yard, as hundreds of 
yellow paintballs whiz 
through the air and 
the players scramble 
amongst the cars and 
trees with the camera 
on their heels. Yet 
Benmayor reveals that 
the whole thing "was 
set up in one morning 
and shot in one after- 
noon. It was funny, 
because it was so 
fast. We knew where 
the cars were going 
to be, since we had 
been there and 
scouted the place, but 
until the actual shooting day, neither me, the 
DP nor the actors were able to figure out how 
it was going to ploy." 

Making matters even trickier was 
the fact that the majority of the paint- 
balls were fired live on the set, rather 
than created digitally in postproduc- 
tion. 'There were 1 ,000 bolls in the 
first take," the director reveals. "I was 
moving the camera and had a special 
gun which I shot for specific balls that 
had to impact at certain moments. There 
were more going on in the background — 
eight guys were spread around the trees, 
and when the camera approached, they 
started firing. And it was not only them [in 
addition to] the eight actors, but myself, the 
focus puller and the sound guy. Yet the point 
of view goes 360 degrees, and where's the 
crew? You don't see anyone." 

Once real blades replace faux guns as 
the weapons of choice, the integration of 
special makeup FX into lengthy takes posed 
its own challenge. 'There's one scene toward 
the end where someone gets killed in close- 
up with a machete," Benmayor says. "So 
after eight minutes, there's a special effect 
there on screen. All the effects crew had to 
be just behind the camera, changing the 
knives and so on. With all the stuff going on 
'backstage' during the take, it was very 

funny; it looked more like 
theater than a movie." 

The eventual revelation 
of who's stalking the paint- 
ballers carries an undercur- 
rent of social commentary, 
and Benmayor (who's cur- 
rently in postpfoduction on 
his follow-up feature, the 
historical adventure Bruc) 
says, 'There are messages 
thrown in about the media, 
and how people could get 
involved in this kind of 
killing. But this being a 
genre film, we're not trying 
to make a statement about 
that type of thing. It's just 
entertainment." 

— Michael Gingold 







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RIVER, 2009): Writer/ 
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□ CARRIERS (PARAMOUNT, 
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□ THE DEVIL'S MUSIC (CEUBRI- 
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□ THE FIRST 7TH NIGHT (TAI 
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□ RED CANYON (FIRESIDE, 
2009): A brother and sister return to 
their hometown to purge memories of a 
brutal attack, but their arrival incites more 
horrific violence. Directed by Giovanni 
Rodriguez, starring Christine Lakin and 
Norman Reedus. 

J RUN! BITCH RUN! (VICIOUS 
CIRCLE/BREAKING GLASS, 
2009): Catholic schoolgirls get in trou- 
ble, and one takes grisly revenge on the 
slimeballs who violated them. Grindhouse 
homage by Joseph Guzman, with a bo- 
nus short film and more. 

□ SHADOW TRACKER: VAMPIRE 
HUNTER (VERY SCARY PRODS., 
1 999): DVDebut of Joe Bagnardi's 
low-budget slayathon, inspired by Ham- 
mer Films and other '70s bloodsucker 
fare, with Ron Rausch in the title role. Go 
to www.veryscaryproductions.com. 

□ THEY CAME FROM THE ATTIC 
(MILLS PICTURES, 2009): A 

family struggling with one son's death 
must also deal with creatures dwelling in 
their new home. With commentary by 
writer/director Jason Mills, featurettes, 
etc.; see www.theycamefromtheattic.com, 

JANUARY 

□ ALONE IN THE DARK II 
(VIVENDI, 2009): See page 8. 
Includes behind-the-scenes material and 
an Uwe Boll intro. 

Cl THE APPEARED (IFC/MPI, 
2008): Acclaimed chiller by Spanish 
writer/di rector Paco Cabezas, in which 
two siblings discover a diary detailing 
horrible 20-year-old crimes — which are 
then recreated before their eyes. 

BAD BIOLOGY (SHRIEK 
SHOW/MEDIA BLASTERS, 
2008): Frank Henenlotter's triumphant 
return to twisted cinema, about a guy 
and girl with aberrant... organs. Includes 
cammentary by Henenlotter and pro- 
ducer/co-scripter R.A. Thorburn, a fea- 
turette, etc. 


Photo: Copyright Lionsgate 


JENNIFER'S BODY (FOX, 
2009): You can check out the pos- 
sessed Megan Fox on DVD and Blu-ray 
in both theatrical and extended cuts, each 
with a separate filmmaker commentary. 
The Blu-ray also has deleted scenes, 
video diaries, a gag reel, etc. 

MORBID: A LOVE STORY (ANTI- 
HERO PRODS., 2009): Can ro 

mance stop a college guy from practicing 
his serial-killing art? Edward Poysi 


yson s mov- 


The Itch; see www.morbidalovestory.com 





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□ BLADi OF THE RIPPER CMYA 
COMMUNICATION, 1971):Ser 

gio Martino giallo (a.k.a. The Strange 
Vice of Mrs. Wardh], starring Edwige 


Fenech as the target of a mysterious mad- 
a pno 


man. Includes a photo and poster gallery. 


□ BLOOD CREEK (LIONSGATE, 
2009): Brothers Dominic Purcell and 
Henry Cavill seek revenge against the for- 
mer's kidnappers — who turn out to be em- 
broiled in Nazi occult experiments. With 
commentary by director Joel Schumacher. 


□ COCKHAMMER (HACK MOVIES/ 
TEMPE, 2010): The titular snuff film- 
maker kidnaps a couple of girls whose 
loser boyfriends try to get them back in 


This Devil 

makes 

some 

beautiful 

Music 




Kevin Strange's outrageous flick, with 
d-the 


commentary, behind-the-scenes bits, 
bloopers and more. 


□ DARK RAGE (CINEMA EPOCH, 
2010 ): British psychochiller from 
writer/director/producer Lee Akehurst 
about a father and landlord who's also a 
multiple murderer — and has a tenant with 
disturbed impulses of his own. 


□ DEAD AT THE BOX OFFICE 
(SRS, 2009): Projecting an aid 
' film reel before a midnight show of 
_ Night of the Living Dead leads to real 
zombies overrunning the theater in 
Shawn Stutler's horror/comedy, with film- 
maker commentary, a gag reel, etc. 


□ DOCTOR DEATH, SEEKER OF 
SOULS (SCORPION, 1 973): He s 

1 ,000 years old, and can keep the spirits 
of the deceased alive — all he needs are 
fresh bodies to contain them. With com- 






□ BIRTHDAY MAIL/KOKURRI- 
SAN (SWITCHBLADE/SECTION 
23, 2008/ 1 997); A deadly chain 
e-mail from director Toyama Masayuki, 
and teen girls terrorized by a Ouija- 
raised spirit courtesy of Takahisa Zeze, 
together on one disc. 


mentary by/an interview with star John 
Considine and more. 


□ THE DOUBLE BORN (CELEBRITY, 
2009): A woman (Lair of the White 
Worm's Sammi Davis) desperate for a 
child forms a twisted relationship with 
two teenagers she's hired to paint her 
house. Written and directed by Hellraiser 
Its Tony Rondel, 


□ DURHAM COUNTY: Season 
One (WELL GO USA, 2007): 

Acclaimed Canadian TV series about a 


serial killer terrorizing a small community, 


hunted by a detective with a dark side 
his own. With behind-the-scenes footage 
and photos. 


□ THE FINAL DESTINATION (NEW 
LINE/WARNER, 2009): Watch 
more young death-cheaters meet their 
makers in 2-D (but where's the fun in 
that?) or 3-D, with additional scenes on 
DVD and Blu-ray and a featurette, alter- 
nate ending etc. on the latter. 


□ FLEXING WITH MONTY 
(UNEARTHED/BREAKING 
GLASS, 2010): A narcissistic, big- 
oted bodybuilder, his troubled brother 
and a nun are the ingredients of John 
Albo's psychosexual thriller. With an Albo 
interview and featurettes. 


□ GOODBYE GEMINI (SCORPION, 
1 970); Alan Gi bson's Brit chiller a.k.a. 
Twinsanity, about a brother and sister 
with a very close and dangerous relation- 
ship. Includes commentary by star Judy 
Geeson and producer Peter Snell. 


□ HALLOWEEN II (SONY PIC- 
TURES, 2009): Rob Zombie's further 
adventures of Michael Myers, in R and 
unrated editions plus Blu-ray, with Zom- 
bie's commentary, deleted/alternate 
scenes, audition/ makeup test footage, etc. 


HARD REVENGE MILLY: Hyper 
Violence Collection (WELL GO 
USA, 2008-09): Takanori Tsujimo- 
to's pair of short features follow a young 
woman (Miki Mizuno) wreaking bloody 
vengeance on her family's killers. With a 
making-of piece and a photo gallery. 


□ HOLLA IF YOU HEAR ME KILL 
YOU! (SRS, 2010): A music studio 
is stalked by a serial killer who wants to 
make sure the rappers and R&B singers 
who gather there give their final perform- 
ances. From writer/director Mark Harris. 


□ KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS 
(SHOUT! FACTORY, 1 977): See 

page 74. With commentary by director 
John "Bud" Cardos, producer Igo Kantor 
et al., a William Shatner interview and 
much more. 


□ MADNESS (WELL GO USA, 
2010): Director/co-scripter Sonny 
Laguna sends road-tripping cheerleaders 
and guys they pick up into the clutches of 
a psychopath who loves to inflict pain. 
With making-of stuff, a short and photos. 




r 




■11 




J- 


□ NUN OF THAT (CAMP MOTION 
PICTURES, 2009): More twisted fun 
from filmmaker Richard Griffin, with a 
murdered girl of the cloth resurrected for 
revenge. With FANGORIA Radio's Deb- 
bie Rochon; includes filmmaker/actor 
commentary, a documentary and the 
original Nun short. 


□ PANDORUM (ANCHOR BAY, 
2009): Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster 
battle mutants and madness on a space- 
craft in Christian Alvart's sci-fi shocker, 
with filmmaker commentary, featurettes, 
deleted scenes and more; also on Blu-ray. 


□ PONTYPOOL (IFC/MPI, 2009): 

Stephen McHattie's radio jock gets truly 
shocked as a speech-borne, zombielike 
infection sweeps through his town, and 
threatens to invade his station. Bruce 
McDonald's movie comes with filmmaker 
commentary, shorts and a radio version. 


THE RIVERMAN (NORTH AMER- 
ICAN, 2004): Cable chiller about a 
real-life criminologist's interviews with 
incarcerated Ted Bundy in an attempt to 
understand the mindset of the Green 
River Killer — which helped inspire The 
Silence of the Lambs. 


O SATAN'S WIFE (MYA COMMU- 
NICATION, 1 977): Actually, the 
devil has a few spouses in Peter Karper/ 
Pier Carpi's sexual shocker, and he goes 
after the daughters of their unions as 
well. Co-starring Frank Finlay and John 
Phillip Law. 


□ THE SHIFTLING (DIGITAL 
SHADOW/VICTORY MULTIME- 
DIA, 20 1 0): A parasitical creature 
infects and kills anyone aware of its exis- 
tence, and one such man tries to track 
down the relic that can stop it. Written 
and directed by Taegen Carter. 


□ SPIRITS OF THE FALL (R^ 
FILMS, 2008): UK writer/director 




t A 




Photo: Glen Baisley 




It's time to tell your storiea 



We look at life a little differently than most people. We see moments captured through the lens of a camera and in the glow of a 
spotlight. We watch people in moments of desire, love, pain, sorrow, hope... 

We are the film students at the Factory Digital Filmmaking Program at Douglas. By teaming up with the Tom Savini's Special Make-Up 
Effects Program and the other creative art programs at our school, our dreams, our stories, and our visions can truly come to life in our 
work. We believe that we can impact people, make a difference, change a mind, entertain, bring laughter, bring joy. .. and give our 
audience an experience. We believe in the magic of movies. 

If you want to be a part of our team, if you have the heart and determination to put yourself out there and expose your passion... 
we welcome you. 


Mixing Roa 


Sound Stage 


DOUGLAS 

Education Center 
130 Seventh Street • Monasaen, PA 15052 

www.dec.edlu 


sFACTORY 

Digital Filmmaking Program at Douglas 


Financial Aid For Those Who Qualify Housing Is Available Through BOSS Development 




V • 








Russ Diapper also stars as a widower con 
anos 


fronting gnosts from his past while holing 
up in a hotel. With Diapper's com- 
mentary, a behind-the-scenes fea- 
turette, rehearsal footage and more. 


turette and a gag reel; the original Fever 
is also debuting on Blu-ray. 


□ TORTURE ROOM (ECHO 
BRIDGE, 30 10): Political tor- 
ture meets the genre kind in Eric 
Forsberg's study of a woman 
abducted and put through mental 
and physical anguish by our own 
government due to her connections 
to Middle Eastern men. 


□ WHEN NIGHT FALLS (SEMI. 
NAL/E1, 3007): New Zealand 
writer/director Alex Galvin strands 
two nurses in their patient's remote 
home with a serial killer on the loose. 
With Galvin's commentary, stills and 
the filmmaker's notes. 


FEBRUARY 


□ BIOPHAGE (MIDNIGHT 
RELEASING, 30 1 0): A soldier 
and a doctor try to preserve their 
sanity and their lives as they make 
their way across a post-plague coun- 
tryside. Mark A. Rapp's movie comes 
with deleted scenes and bloopers. 


THE BROTHERHOOD V: 

ALUMNI (harai/EI, 

3010): The David DeCoteau franchise 


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When The Good 

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Sisters {April 

Monique Burril * 


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bad, they're 


even better, ' 



LO (SYNKRONIZED USA, 
3009): Writer/director Travis Betz of 
Fango Video's Joshua spins the 
comic/horrific saga of a guy who falls 


for a girl with a secret demonic post, 

save her when she's abducted 


then must : 
by hellish creatures. 



Nothan Parsons 
wants to narrow 
down the d/vnimlist 
in The Brotherhood V. 


continues with a group of students (many 
of them hot guys) terrorized a year after 
a prom prank gone wrong. Includes 
behind-the-scenes footage. 


□ BUTCHERED (ANTHEM, 
3010): Teen pals on a last outing be- 
fore separating for college have the bad 
luck to hold it on an island that's also the 
destination of a recently escaped serial 
murderer. Directed by Charles Stewart Jr. 


CABIN FEVER 3: SPRING FEVER 


(LIONSGATE, 3010): See page 


24. With cast/ crew commentary. 


□ CANNIBAL SUBURBIA (MID- 
NIGHT RELEASING, 3008): Aus 

tralian gross-out anthology by D.A. 
Jackson and Jean-Luc Syndikas, with sto- 
ries about evil doppelgangers, torture and 
a party that goes very bad. Includes a 
behind-the-scenes segment and bloopers. 


□ DANTE'S INFERNO (ANCHOR 
BAY, 3010): Animated feature from 
the folks behind Dead Space: Downfall, 
similarly based on the EA video game 
about the titular hero's quest through the 
nine circles of hell. With animatics and 
more; also on Blu-ray. 


□ FREEWAY KILLER (IMAGE, 
3010): John Murlowski's chronicle of 
real-life teen-slayer William Bonin (played 
by Scott Leet), co-starring Michael 
Rooker. With commentary by Murlowski 
and scripter David Birke and a 
featurette; also on Blu-ray. 


THE GOOD SISTERS 
(r3 FILMS, 3010): The 

Chainsaw Sally duo of writ- 
er/director JimmyO Burril and 
star April Monique Burril wel- 
come Debbie Rochon into the 
fold for this tale of two sexy 
witches. Includes a featurette 
and music video. 


HELLHOUNDS (VIVEN- 
DI, 3009): Rick Schroder 
(!) directed this Syfy entry set 
in ancient Greece, where a 
warrior rescues his bride from 
Hades and earns the wrath of 
the underworld ruler, who 
sends killer canines after him. 


Hard 
Revenge 
Milly cuts 
right to the 
heart of 
the matter. 


□ NIGHT OF THE FLESH- 
EATERS (CINEMA EPOCH, 
3008): A hitman and a crime boss' 
wife, fleeing her angry husband, wind 
up in a forest where they confront some- 
thing even deadlier: Native American 
demon zombies! Written and directed 
by J.R. McGarrity, 


□ PHANTOM RACER (VIVEN- 
DI, 3009): Greg Evigan survived 
trucking with a chimp, but how will he 
fare against a ghostly car and driver 


seeking revenge on the road? Find out in 


ng r 

this Syry flick co-starring Nicole Eggert. 


J QUIET DAYS OF BLOOD 
AND PAIN (COPP FILMS/ 
TEMPE, 3009): Writer/director 
Andrew Copp presents an Iraq war vet- 
eran who goes on a "patriotic" rampage 
against anyone he considers un-Ameri- 
can. Inclucies a pair of featurettes. 


a SHE'S CRUSHED (MAVER- 
ICK, 3010): She's also not quite 
right in the head, which is bad news for 
a guy who thought she was just a one- 
night stand in Patrick Johnson's shocker, 
which includes audio commentary. 


□ SHE-WOLF OF LONDON: Th« 
Compute Seriof (UNIVERSAL, 
1 990-9 1 ): Four-disc set with all 20 
episodes of the supernatural show, in 
which Kate Hodge gets the bad bite and 
tries to put an end to her curse with the 
help of a professor. 


a SHOCK FESTIVAL (SHOCK-O- 
RAMA/BLOODY EARTH, 
3010): Steph en Romano's three-disc 
companion piece to his volume of faux- 
exploitation history, with tons of classic 
drive-in previews plus tribute trailers 
based on titles in his book (including 
Girlkiller by yours truly), TV and radio 
spots, etc. 


C 

t 


• *. * 


Photo; Copyright Hard Revenge Milly Film Partners 


www.fangoria.com 


• 





• N 


□ TRIANOLf (FIRST LOOK, 
aoo9)< See page 30. Includes 

cast/crew interviews; also on Blu-ray. 

□ THE WOLF MAN: Legacy Series 
(UNIVERSAL, 1 944): New two 

disc release of the Lon Chaney Jr. classic, 
featuring the previous commentary by 
our own Tom Weaver and fresh extras. 


For reviews of more new titles, see page 66. 
Also on Blu-ray: The Fallen Ones, Hellboy: 
Sword of Storms/Blood & Iron, The Lost and 
Spiral fAnc/iorBoyj; Gremlins (Warner); 

1 978's The Toolbox Murders (Blue Under- 
ground); Wicked Lake (Shriek Show/ 

Media Blasters). 

— Compiled by 
Michael Gingold 


FEARFILMFORECAST 


January 21: Legion 
Jan. 29: After Dark Horrorfest 4 
February 1 2: The Wolfman (remake) 
Feb. I 9: Shutter Island 
Feb. 26: The Crazies (remake) 

March 1 9: Seoson of the Witch 

April 2: Repo Men 

April 1 6: Piranha 3D 

April 30: A Nightmare on Elm Street 

(remake) 

Spring: Mother’s Day (remake). Night 
of the Demons (remake) 

June I 8: Jonah Hex 
June 30: Eclipse 
July 9: Predators 

August I 3; Friday the 13th Pt. 2 (3-D) 
September 1 7: Resident Evil: After- 
life (3-D). The Roommate 
October I : Priest 
Oct. 29: Saw 911 (3-D) 

Oct.: Halloween 30 
December: Hereafter 
January 1 4, 20 1 I : The Cabin in the 
Woods (3-D) 


Jan. 21,201 I : Underworld 4 (3-D) 
February 25, 2011: Strow Dogs 

(remake) 

February I 7, 20 1 2: Hotel Transyl- 
vania 

Undated: All the Boys Love Mandy 
Lane. Area 51, Black Swan, Case 39. 
Chain Letter. The Descent: Part 2. Devil. 
Dolan*s Cadillac, Don’t Be Afraid of the 
Dark (remake), Dorian Gray, Dream 
House. The Experiment (remake), Fragile, 
Frankenweenie, Frozen. Giallo, Hellraiser 
(3-D remake), The Hole (3-D), Jekyll and 
Hyde, Let Me In. My Soul to Take (a.k.a. 
25/8), The New Daughter. The Orphan- 
age (remake). Poltergeist (remake), Pos- 
session, The Poughkeepsie Tapes, The 
Resident, Scanners (3-D remake), Scor 
(3-D), Scream 4. Solomon Kane. Splice, 
TellTale. World War Z.Zombieland 2 (3-D) 

Note: Most release dates are tentative 
and subject to change. See www. 
fangoria.com for the latest updates. 


ENTER THE "HOUSE"! 

D ork Sky Films is offering two different ways 
to visit writer/director Ti West's The House 
of the Devil on February 2: DVD and Blu-roy. 
This genuinely creepy homage to '80s fear fare,, 
starring Jocelin Donahue as a college girl who 
takes a terrifying babysitting job from Tom Noo- 
nan and Mary Woronov, will be accomponied 
by audio commentary by West and Donahue, 
the In the House of the Devil making-of fea- 
turette and more. In conjunction with Dark Sky, 
Fango is giving away five copies of the 
DVD and five copies of the Blu-ray to 
the winners of this contest! 

To enter, send a postcard — one only per 
household, please — with your name and 
address to; House of the Devil Contest, 
FANGORIA, 250 West 49th Street, 

Suite 304, New York, NY 10019 You 

must indicate 
whether you 
prefer the DVD 
or the Blu-ray. 
Winners will be 
determined by 
random draw- 
ing; illegible and 
multiple 

entries — and we 
do notice these 
things — will be 
disqualified. The 
deadline for 
entries is Febru- 
ary 15,2010. 
Good luck! 








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O n a perfect spring day, Fango drives down the tree-lined 
streets of Wilmington, North Ccirolina to the set of Cabin 
Fever 2: Spring Fever. People are out enjoying the weather, 
completely unaware that a deadly killer is loose in their city. 
The attacker is quick, violent and leaves a bloody mess; worst 
of all, this merciless enemy is invisible to the n^ed eye. Yes, 
the flesheating virus from Cabin Fever is back, hungry for more 
hosts and getting a new lease on life in the Lionsgate sequel 
(hitting DVD February 16 after a lengthy delay). 

Fango arrives — sans hazmat suit — at Williston Middle 
School in dorvntown Wilmington, ground zero for the virus and 
location for the sequel’s final days of shooting. A quick glimpse 
of movie trucks and shuffling extras around the parking lot 
confirms we’re in the right place. Inside the school’s audito- 
rium, a group of about 100 kids relax in various degrees of 
gaudy prom fashion. A stroll across the hall leads to the 
school’s locked gymnasium, which houses the film’s main set: 
the prom dance floor. 

The original Cabin Fever, starring Eider Strong and Jordan 
Ladd, follows two couples who encounter the virulent sickness 


at a cottage in the woods. As that film ends, Paul (Strong) is 
lying, seemingly dead, in a river, his infected body offering the 
virus escape into the drinking-water supply. The Eli Roth- 
directed film earned a healthy $21 million at the U.S. box office 
and doubled that amount when it hit video — a strong return on 
its $ 1.5-million budget, and producer Lauren Moews felt a 
franchise was in the making, alongside a desire to do some- 
thing different. 

“The horror films I produce are the ones that have some- 
thing extra,” she explains in the school cafeteria. “Movies not 
like others in the genre. I wanted to produce [a Cabin Fever 
sequel] that takes the story out there and changes things up a 
little bit. Yet the film stiU maintains the premise, which is: 
What do people become in the face of this? How does the virus 
manifest its personality (within its host] — for the good or for 
the bad? So we decided to take the virus to prom!” 

Following a prolonged development, and with Roth’s bless- 
ing, Moews chose director Ti West — who had then made a 
splash with The Roost and has since helmed the well-received 
The House of the Devil — to flesh out the high-school-set sequel. 


The sequel set at a high-school dance ptonn^e?. 
to give gorehounds something to ce\e\«a\e. 


By WILLiUH SEMU WILSON 





depiction of the victims. “I believe we 
have improved on what the virus looks 
like from the first movie,” Raleigh says. 
“We’ve elaborated on its whole process, 
with different stages.” 

Alvarez agrees, and details the 
amount of effort they took to make their 
bug stand apart. “I don’t think you ever 
really see it in the first one,” he says. “You 
never get a grasp of what it looks Uke, and 
in this one you have a stage one, two and 
three of the virus. That’s something 
where we did a lot of research and tried to 
come up with the coolest-looking stuff. 
You’U see something very subtle and go, 
‘Is that a zit? Or is that the disease?’ You 
never know what it is. So you just don’t 


Among the actors essaying the hapless 
teens are Noah [Deadgirl] Segan, Alexi 
Wasser, Marc (The Lost] Senter and Rusty 
Kelley, alongside returning Cabin Fever 
vets Strong and Giuseppe Andrews; West’s 
Roost producer Larry Fessenden, Feast’s 
Judah Friedlander and Mark (American 
Movie) Borchardt have cameos. 

The script, written by Joshua Malkin 
from a story by West and the first Fever's 
Randy Pearlstein, is best described as a 
John Hughes teen romance combined with 
black humor and copious helpings of 
Peter Jackson-esque gore. “Cabin Fever 2, 
in my mind, is way more a comedy than it 
is a horror movie,” says West, a lanky 
young guy with seemingly unending en- 


But I operate the camera, so essentially 
it’s just me and the AC and the actors.” 

Unit publicist David Roberson leads 
Fango to the dance-floor set, which has 
been designed to have a “timeless” feel. 
Beyond the gymnasium entrance lies 
what can easily be described as a perfect 
prom setting. The event has a “Disco 
Under the Sea” theme, and the room is 
dressed accordingly, with jellyfish hang- 
ing from the ceiling, a shark facade and a 
giant ice swordfish planted in the middle 
of the refreshments table with the deadly 
punch bowl (made from that contaminat- 
ed water). Dominating the center of the 
space is an illuminated floor right out of 
Saturday Night Fever. The only dissimilar- 


The really sick part is, that's not the worst thing 
to get into the punch. 


She's got o Saturday night fever of o different sort. 


ergy. “I love Paul Bartel and early Joe 
Dante/Allan Arkush films. This movie has 
a bit of that early- 19 70s anarchic vibe 
mixed with some very dark humor similar 
to Todd [Happiness] Solondz.” 

Deftly leaping from the indie arena to 
this much better-budgeted project. West 
has been feeling comfortable during the 
sequel’s NC shoot — ^though his boimdless 
energy seems necessary for the four-week 
schedule, which has often clocked in 12- 
hour days. “I’m used to working much 
faster, with more limitations,” he notes. 
“There is never enough time or money to 
do anything on a movie, so nothing is dif- 
ferent [in that regard]. I just have a pro- 
duction-designed set and more extras. 


ity with an actual prom is a curious blue 
tarp covering the entire floor. That, Fan- 
go’s told, is for tomorrow’s shoot, where 
gallons of blood will be splashed on extras 
for the gruesome climax. “We’re going to 
turn this whole thing into a bloody slip- 
’n’-slide,” says FX artist Ozzy Alvarez. 

In order to showcase the effects of the 
nasty virus, Moews hired the fledgling 
Quantum Creation FX house. Co-founded 
in 2006 by Justin Raleigh and Christian 
Beckman, Quantum has garnered a solid 
reputation thanks to stellar work on fi lm s 
such as Splinter, Boogeyman 2 and Watch- 
men. One of the ways the guys at Quantum 
are distinguishing their FX from those of 
their Fever KNB predecessors is in the 


know who is infected and who is not. 

“We looked at all the stuff from the 
first film and did 10 times that,” he adds. 
“More blood, more gore.” 

When prodded about their own 
personal highlights from the shoot, ' 
both men agree on one secret effect. 
“There’s one [particular] gag where 
every single person who was watching 
the monitor was holding their stomachs 
and going, ‘Oh my God. I can’t believe we 
just saw that.’ I’ve never heard that on a 
set before,” Alvarez says. “There were liter- 
ally 30 people grouped aroimd the screen, 
and every one of them was shocked. Some 
people were even looking away. A hint is 
that it is every guy’s worst nightmare. It 





is so not cool. It will be the one gag that 
people talk about.” The FX guys aren’t 
overselling their goods, either; Moews 
later tells West that even the people pro- 
cessing the film in LA have commented on 
how extreme the material is. Naturally, 
this brings a smile to West’s face. 

With the perfect vantage point from 
the second-floor bleachers, Fango is wit- 
ness to the day’s shooting. The extras get 
their groove on to the pounding disco 
theme from 1980’s Prom Night — a music 
track West is hoping wiU make it into the 
final film. In the first setup, dejected John 
(Segan) surveys the floor for his lovely 
prize, Cassie (Wasser). Instead, he finds 
his nebbishy best friend Alex (Kelley), 


and bolts and we get to work, there is very 
little discussion. We both know where a 
scene needs to go.” 

This reliance on spontaneous creativ- 
ity has led to what Segan believes will be 
a number of memorable moments and on- 
screen firsts. “There are easily a dozen 
gags in this film where I don’t know how 
we are going to get away with them,” he 
says with a grin. “It’s unbelievable how 
disgusting and extreme the gags are. 
We’ve all seen the blood; we’ve all seen 
the gore. The kicker is how we are doing 
it. tS^at we’re doing to people’s bodies in 
this film will haunt your dreams.” 

Segan mentions three disparate influ- 
ences on his portrayal of John; Michael J. 


“You’ve got to watch the movie. With 200 
gallons of blood around, there’s a pretty 
good chance that I could end up with a lit- 
tle red on my hands.” 

Segan retreats back to the set to film a 
confrontation between Marc (the intense- 
looking Senter) and John. Following a 
heated verbal exchange, things escalate 
and Principal Sinclair (Michael Bowen, 
also in Deadgirl] grabs John and forcibly 
ejects him from the gymnasium. The crew 
then breaks for dinner, eind Fango catches 
up with newcomer Kelley, who fills us in 
on his comedic sidekick role. “I am the 
wisecracking, asshole best friend,” he 
says of Alex. “Basically, the Revenge of the 
Nerds Booger-type character.” 


The sidelines are the safest place to be for John (Noah Segan), Cassie (Alexi Wasser) 

and Alex (Rusty Kelley). 


When his karate skills won't do the trick, Marc 
(Marc Senter) has to improvise. 


who sports a haircut and ill-fitting tuxedo 
that would make Crispin Glover proud. 
Alex tries to console his friend before 
declaring the tainted punch “tastes 
like piss,” a small suggestion of the 
film’s darker comedy. 

During a break in filming, Fango 
gets a chance to talk with leading 
man Segan. The actor, who received 
great notices for his twitchy psycho turn 
in the teen mix Brick and has been amass- 
ing quite an indie-genre resume (high- 
lighted by his antiheroic turn in Deadgirl ] , 
is enjoying his first leading role. “I’ve had 
the best time working on this,” he says. 
“Ti and I have had a great shorthand from 
the get-go. When it comes down to nuts 


“TKere are easily a dozen gags in this film 
where I don't hnow how we are going to get 
away with them." 

— Noah Segan, actor 


Fox, Christian Slater and Fango fave 
Bruce Campbell. “That guy is a genius 
actor and performer,” Segan says of the 
genre hero. “He can play the comedy and 
the horror, but he does it with stability. 
And there’s a lot of that in what I’m trying 
to do here.” When asked if he gets run 
through the wringer like the lovable Ash 
of the Evil Dead films, Segan coyly says, 


Moews has high praise for Kelley, call- 
ing him a “true find,” while Segan labels 
him a “comic genius.” Despite the acco- 
lades, Kelley hasn’t let it go to his head, 
as this die-hard horror fan is having the 
time of his life. “As a little kid, I would 
walk around with a VHS camera with my 
friends and try to figure out how to make 
fake blood. All I would do is read [Fcmgo 





was bom to win. He has his whole life laid 
out in front of him. He knows exactly 
what he wants to do and where he wants 
to go, but this guy John just keeps getting 
in his way.” 

The actor reaches the core of his 
scoundrels by finding the good, no matter 
how small, in them — that and, in this 
case, ample martial-arts sessions, both 
real and cinematic. “Ti turned me on to 
the Karate Kid movies,” Senter explains. 
“He was really inspired by those films, 
and this character was loosely based on 
Johnny [William Zabka in the first Kid] . I 
must have sat down and watched those 
movies with him two dozen times. He kept 
telling me, ‘They’re not bad guys. They’re 


an ’80s love-triangle movie and a horror 
film,” she says. “What is cool is that they 
cast me, because I’m not the type you’d 
expect as the lead girl in a scary movie. 
It’s only tits and ass in most of them.” 

This casting against type didn’t save 
Wasser from the perils of being a horror 
heroine, though. “There is one scene we 
shot in a burial ground with unmarked 
graves,” she recalls. “That was creepy. 
We were out in the middle of nowhere, 
and I was running over those plots, freez- 
ing at 4 a.m. I thought I had ticks all over 
me. It was hardcore.” Wasser’s psyche 
hasn’t been her only casualty during this 
shoot: “I completely ruined my hair,” she 
notes, an unintended result of all of the 


editor Tony Timpone’s] Men, Makeup & 
Monsters. This is kind of a dream for me. 
It sounds cheesy, but this is every single 
thing I have ever wanted to see and be a 
part of.” 

The following day — dubbed “Blood 
Day” by the cast and crew — is the final 
round of shooting, and Fango has exclu- 
sive access to all of the gruesome goings- 
on. The familiar prom extras are back, but 
with a twist: Since the crack of dawn, FX 
artists Raleigh and Alvarez have been 
making up each partygoer to display the 
end result of the spreading virus. One 
unlucky fellow finds his plaid pants aren’t 
his worst feature, as his face is slashed 
open, and severed girls reveal skin cov- 


You can take the kids out of the virus-infected cabin, but you can't take the virus infection out of the kids. 


ered in bloody pustules. The end result is 
definitely off-putting, especially during 
meal breaks. 

Nonetheless, Fango takes the opportu- 
nity to chat with more of the cast: Up first 
is Senter, whose award-winning perform- 
ance as The Lost's psychotic Ray Pye 
earned him another villainous role — al- 
beit in a more comical vein — as Cabin 
Fever 2's karate-kicking baddie Marc. Dis- 
playing none of the brooding intensity 
from yesterday’s shoot, the down-to-earth 
Colorado native is very genial, and the 
complete antithesis of the unbalanced 
characters he portrays. 

“This guy is not a prick,” Senter says 
of Marc. “I consider him someone who 


just really intense and focused. They 
mean business and they don’t like to be 
f**ked with.’ I thought that was so cool, 
and that’s why I tried so hard to not make 
Marc an asshole.” 

Another recipient of West’s film tutor- 
ing was Wasser, who plays bubbly love 
interest Cassie. Surprisingly, the dainty 
Wasser is the most excited to see Fango 
cind the biggest horror buff out of the 
three leads. Despite her love of the genre, 
however, the actress stiU had to do some 
heavy prep when West gave her an assign- 
ment to watch 21 films; Wasser reveals an 
eclectic list ranging from Night of the Liv- 
ing Dead to Valley Girl. 

“Ti wanted to make this a mix between 


blood poured on her. 

Following our conversation, Wasser 
and the rest of the main cast head to the 
set to indulge in some schadenfreude, 
as today is one of the few days they 
won’t be the ones covered with gore. ' 
Tucked away in a smaU alcove are 
several 50-gaUon garbage cans filled 
with blood that FX assistant DanieUe 
Noe gives a good stirring. Clearly, things 
are going to get very messy. Filming 
starts with a scenario befitting proms 
nationwide, as the dance’s queen Sandy 
(Lindsey Axelsson) stands on stage com- 
plaining that no one is paying attention to 
her after a fellow student collapses. The 
end result is teacher Ms. Hawker (Angela 




Oberer) calling for order, only to get 
sprayed with red. A successive series of 
takes get bloodier and bloodier, establish- 
ing a pattern that continues throughout 
the day. Next, a kissing couple suddenly 
puke blood into each other’s mouths. 
“That was disgusting and yet so loving,” 
Moews says, watching on the monitor. 

Later in the day, Raleigh applies finger 
stumps to a prom patron unlucky enough 
to get his hand caught in a door. It’s an 
impromptu gag suggested on the set, and 
West liked the idea. “This took us about 
an hour to make out of a kit,” Raleigh says 
as he hides blood tubing. On the monitor, 
the gag appears to be a success, as the 
fingerless hand is captured perfectly in 


who is fortunate enough to duck. The same 
can’t be said for the girl behind him, whose 
white dress instantly turns crimson. 
Sensing his luck, the DJ rises up, only to 
get a second blast right in the chest. West 
approves and decides it’s time to move to 
the film’s climax — but not before an 
impromptu shot of the bloody turntable. 

The gymnasium is bustling with activ- 
ity and excitement as extras begin to find 


various angles of the bloody scene. 'Wfith 
enough carnage in the film canisters. 
West calls cut and Cabin Fever 2 is offi- 
cially wrapped. The young director stands 
for a minute to survey the scene. There’s 
blood ever3rwhere, with your reporter 
even catching his own reflection in the 
inch-deep puddles below. Asked if he 
thinks Peter Jackson would approve. West 
answers, “Yeah, I t hink so.” 


“We looked at all the stuff from the first 
film and did 10 times that. More blood, 
more gore." 

— Ozzy Alvarez, makeup FX artist 


silhouette by the red light bathing the set. 

“The best thing about Ti is that if we 
come up with a better way to kill someone, 
he’s aU for it,” Alvarez adds. “You 
definitely do not have to fight when 
it comes to making things gorier.” 

As the day progresses, the gags 
become more elaborate. In a comer 
of the dance floor, the FX crew pre- 
pares for a one-take-only puke shot cour- 
tesy of Quantum’s custom Vomit Rockets, 
cannon-like devices that look like they 
should be mounted on a Humvee. Alvarez 
and Raleigh man their positions behind 
the guns, prepared for the command to 
fire. Cameras roU, and a fresh stream of 
gory puke hurls toward the prom’s DJ, 


their places. In order to up the body count, 
the Quantum guys unload some corpse 
mockups onto the dance floor. A quick 
shout from a PA gets everyone l3dng 
around motionless — and the bloodbath 
begins. Buckets in hand, the FX team gin- 
gerly steps between the prone bodies 
while spraying the red stuff on them. 
Then, suddenly, the blood claims its first 
victim, as Noe takes a quick spill courtesy 
of the slippery fake plasma. This means 
war, and soon West and the crew are toss- 
ing buckets of gore onto the cheering 
extras. “How on Earth are we going to top 
this?” wonders Moews from the Scifety of 
the sidelines. 

West spends the next hour shooting 


His appraisal of what he has wrought 
is short-lived, however, as severed crew- 
members sneak up on him and, like a foot- 
ball team congratidating their coach on a 
win, drench him with the sticky liquid. 
Began attempts to navigate on the ter- 
rain, but finds himself landing back-first 
on the gory floor — delivering on Alvarez’s 
promise of a bloody slip-’n’-slide. 

Slowly, the extras rise from their posi- 
tions like the living dead, cell phones and 
cameras capturing the scene as they 
shamble out of the gym. One particularly 
bloody girl shouts, “Ew! Ew! Ewwww! 
That was great!” No doubt the production 
is hoping to have that same disgusted-tq- 
excited effect on viewers. 


www.fangoria.com 


Photos: Copyright Lionsgate 



itBUii 


mm YflimsEiT tor... 

n KIOHT or OTHTH! 


There’s something strange going on at 
Deadlock House, a secluded French retirement 
home. The residents seem like nice people, but 
employees are disappearing and the whole 
place seems a bit odd. The boarders are 
vegetarian, the house director plays the same 
creepy tune on the piano over and over again, 
and one man, in particular, seems overly 
violent and aggressive. 

Unfortunately for Martine (Isabelle Goguey), the 
new staff nurse, she’s about to discover the 
horrifying secret of Deadlock House... a secret 
so evil, she may not live to see the dawn. As 
night falls, something evil walks the hallways. 
Something with a taste for blood... and human 
flesh! 


Raphael Delpard directs this rare, underrated "Ws goofy, gory, atmospheric and plenty 

French horror classic chock full of strange entertaining... absolutely worth seeking out.” 


characters, surprising gore and mesmerizing 


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DISTRIBUTED BY 





TRl'lliSlE 


A t the end of a long pier just off the 
beach at Surfer’s Paradise in the Aus- 
tralian state of Queensland, the three- 
story front end of an ocean liner sits on a 
huge pile of rocks. It’s not wrecked — 
although many of the people who walk its 
decks win be. Instead, it’s the ingenious 
solution to the problem of making a film 
that’s mainly set on such a vessel — one 
that you can’t really hire, or buy off eBay. 
It also helps when you need your movie to 
showcase real waves, and not the com- 
puter-generated variety. 

The film is Triangle, and the writer/di- 
rector is Englishman Chris Smith, the 
feverish brain behind Creep and the more 
recent, savagely hilarious Severance 
(which every workplace on the planet 
should sit down and watch for their own 
bonding benefits) . The all- Australian cast 
includes Melissa George, who previously 
lensed 30 Days of Night in New Zealand, 
Michael [Daybreakers] Dorman, Henry 
Nixon, Emma Lung (soon to co-star oppo- 
site Vampire Diaries' Ian Somerhalder in 
Cradlewood] and relative feature newcom- 
ers Liam Hemsworth and Rachael Car- 
pani. The movie will be launched on DVD 
by First Look February 2. 

Set off the coast of Miami, Triangle is a 
UK/Australian coproduction that marks 
the first work trip to Australia for pro- 
ducer Julie Baines, taking part in heu of 
Smith’s regular producer Jason Newmark, 
who departed due to the imminent birth of 
a child. On day 34 of the 45-day 
shoot in the middle of the Aus- 
trahan winter 2008, Baines relates 
the basic premise of what the com- 
pany is trumpeting as a psychologi- 
cal thriller. We’re standing around a 
hallway at the Warner Roadshow Studios, 
where most of the interiors are being 
filmed, next to a large piece of blood- 
stained carpet at the entrance to the 
ship’s theater. 

“This space was a restaurant only 10 
days ago,” Baines notes, and that’s hard 
to believe as we settle into the back rows 


It’s not the Triangle 
you think.. .and 
that’s not the only 
way this seabound 
chiller subverts 
expectations. 

By MICHAEL HELMS 


Jess (Melissa George) has the stronge feeling 
she's being watched... 


of this cozy auditorium, which could seat 
an audience of several hundred. From the 
proscenium to the sumptuously carpeted 
floors, the place provides a perfect envi- 
romnent to both conduct interviews and 
watch the workings of the set. 

“Our cast is on a yacht that capsizes in 
a completely unexpected storm,” Baines 
explains, “and are sitting on the floating 
huU, wondering what they’re going to do. 
Suddenly, this huge liner appears. They 
get on the ship, and it seems to be desert- 
ed. They’ve lost one of their friends, but 
they think she has managed to get aboard 
and are hoping she’s here. In this scene, 
they’ve gotten to the theater, and they see 
a trail of blood on the floor. They don’t 
know if it’s hers.” 

The initial filming today takes place 
behind the entrance door, allowing some 
of the cast to drift in between shots. Dor- 
man, who less than a year ago was in the 
same studios playing Ethan Hawke’s 
younger brother in Daybreakers, sits down 
to speak about his character Greg, whom 
he describes as “the one who keeps every- 
one together in this story. A nice guy 
who’s logical. I can’t say that he’s the 
hero, but he has a go. I don’t want to give 
too much away, but he turns into a violent 
man [laughs]. He’s like a rock, and the 
center point between all the other cheirac- 
ters. They aU come on his yacht and go for 
a sail; the sun is shining and then sud- 
denly, out of nowhere, a whole lot of crazy 
stuff starts up." 

Dorman resists explaining much more 
about the Triangle scenario: “I’m never 
one to talk too much about the colorful 
moments. The thing that really drew me 
to this script is that it’s got twists that 
keep you guessing. It throws your mind 
into spaces where you don’t quite know 
what’s going on, you’re asking questions 
and it’s revealing more and more as you 
go along. Like The Sixth Sense: You’re 
watching the film and you don’t quite 
know exactly where it’s going.” 

He’s not the last person to invoke the 


■ * 



On this ocean 
cruise, there are 
worse things to 
fear than 
icebergs. 


M. Night Shyamalan film in relation to Tri- 
angle, and he adds, “Yeah, there are 
answers, but my understanding of it is dif- 
ferent from the other actors’. I have my 
own idea of where the liner came from. 
Likewise, they have their own sceneirios. 
That’s great, because if anything strange 
happens in reed life — if you see a ghost or 
something — everyone is going to come up 
with their own perception of what hap- 
pened. It’s a beautiful thing to have a sce- 
nario where, even as actors, we have our 
own individual explanations, and I’ll 
argue my point. When it comes to my role. 
I’ll say, ‘No, this is what is happening. 
This is what the movie is about.’ But 
someone else will say, ‘No, it’s about this.’ 
That tension will show up on the screen. 
We need that to help us tell the story.” 

Before departing to one of the balco- 
nies, Dorman enigmatically offers, “If you 
want it to be supernatural, then it’s super- 
natural. Seriously, if you 
think it’s 



that kind of piece, then you wiU see it. If 
you can explain that it isn’t supernatural, 
you’ll be able to see that too.” 

What Fango witnesses inside the thea- 
ter as filming progresses is entirely ex- 
plainable, but to go into too much detail 
would be to drop several spoilers. Suffice 
to say that the characters of Downey 
(Nixon), Sally (Carpani), Wictor (Hems- 
worth) and Dorman’s Greg all enter the 
otherwise unpopulated space — along with 


a masked figure — and a firearm is pro- 
duced. Unfortunately, we’re also unable to 
be spoiled by the presence of George, 
whose character Jess is due to enter not 
long after your reporter has to leave for a 
quick inspection of the outdoor liner set. 

While still at Warner Roadshow, wan- 
dering the wood-paneled and art-laden 
corridors (Baines refers to the sets as con- 
stantly subject to multitasking), Fango 
bumps into Chris Brown, Australia’s most 
prolific producer of genre fare, who had 
only dehvered Daybreakers to Lionsgate the 
day before filming started on Triangle. Sig- 
nificantly, we’re standing next to a large 
painting representing the Greek legend of 
Sisyphus; Greek mythology provides a nar- 
rative drive to Triangle which goes well be- 
yond simply naming the liner the Aeolus. 

“At this point, I didn’t actually want to 
do another horror film,” the producer 
admits. “I was ready to take a holiday and 
make a comedy, a documentary about 
elves or whatever [laughs]. But Triangle 
was very different. There was something 
in the way that, like all good genre pic- 
tures, it totally subverts the genre. It 
steps outside of what horror is sup- 
posed to be. It starts off by putting 
you in a place where you feel very 
comfortable with the story. You feel 
you know exactly what it’s going to 
be: deserted liner, a series of poten- 
tial victims, people running around 
stabbing each other. But it’s com- 
pletely not that kind of film.” 

To explain what sort of film Trian- 
gle actually is. Brown outlines some of 
their intentions. “In terms of atmos- 
phere,” he says, “one thing we wanted to 
do was make it very claustrophobic. We’re 
sitting in this maze of corridors in the pas- 
senger area underneath the liner, and it 
was very tempting to set the whole thing 
here and make a terribly cheap movie. 
This is not that kind of film; it’s a very big 
film, and some of the sets are huge. 
There’s a storm sequence that’s massive. 
Yet it’s incredibly intense, because once 
you get below decks, it’s like going into 
someone’s mind and it’s like an onion, 
really, with so many layers.” 


I* 

r 


r 




IT 


r-- 






i 






If they're not in 
the Bermudo 
Triangle, then 
where the bloody 
hell ore they? 


The producer also notes, “There’s defi- 
nitely no explanation regarding the liner. 
That’s what is so clever about the script. It 
jjlg^ takes you to each of its points, but never 

overexplains anything. It leaves you to 
interpret those things. It sounds like an 
art film, but it’s not. It’s fantastically 
commercial and that’s why it’s clever, as 
well as exciting. It has all the classic 
elements that you might recognize, but 
at the same time, it takes them to 
another area.” 

What stops Brown is a question that he 
i repeats: “Has it got a definitive ending? 

Hljfev This is a discussion we actually had — 

1 ^^ - Jason, Chris and myself. How open should 

the conclusion be? The script does have a 
finality, because if it didn’t, it would proba- 
bly drive the audience mad [laughs]. We have 
shot an ending that does have a message of 
hope. It took a while for us to actually come to 
that, but Chris is pretty happy with it. There are 
always two ways you can go: You can have a pro- 
jection into the darkness or be kind of positive and 
upbeat, and I believe it hits the right note.” 

The film’s tone, the producer maintains, “is not Gothic 
at all, although it is kind of ’30s Deco Gothic. I hope it’s not 
friendly when you see it on the screen. We want creepy. 
Production designer Melinda Doring has done a fantastic 
job. It’s a good Aussie project, and it’s great to make a film 
that has production value which puts it right up there 
with something like The Ruins. It knocks them into a 
cocked hat, and on only a quarter of the budget. That’s 
what you get in Queensland. It’s a great place to 
shoot. The studios are terrific, the Pacific Film 
and TV Commission is very supportive and 
we have the most fantastic crew here. A 
lot of the people working on this 
were on Fools’ Gold, Peter Pan 
and The Ruins — all big Ameri- 
can pictures, so we get the 
benefit of them building 
huge sets and having 
all the shortcuts.” 

It’s lunchtime 
when Fango gets to 
^ meet the man 

Brown describes 
as a “fizzball of 

I extraordinary 

energy.” Writer/ 

jil' director Smith 

1 Hi instantly lives up 

1 !™ to that descrip- 

tion, lamenting 
• how long it has 

/ taken to get Ttian- 

. gle off the ground, 

fTI , and also admitting 

■ ' . s ' to homesickness. 

i “However,” he 

says, “it’s the best 
job I’ve ever done 
in terms of quality 
* and scale. I’ve 

^ tried to make a 

movie that begins 
in a very slick, for- 
mal manner. They 
come onto this 
ship, and it’s like 
The Shining; there 
are long tracking 



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shots of corridors, and 
then, very gradually, it 
becomes quite different, 
and not what you would 
expect. It’s sort of like 
Groundhog Day, playing 
on the idea that at first, 
it seems as if it’s going to 
be a ghost-ship movie. 

You reach a moment 
when you think you 
should be finding clues, 
looking around. Sud- 
denly, minutes into the 
film, everything chang- 
es. It’s a glitch; the ship 
is in a time warp, and the 
day has restarted again.” 

Referring to his ab- 
sent female lead. Smith 
continues, “It’s a reflection of her charac- 
ter’s mental state, and you’re not sure 
whether it’s real or in her mind. You don’t 
know if she’s suffering from some sort of 
schizophrenia or not. That’s also s imilar 
to The Shining; I love that film , and the 
main question is whether the hotel is in 
Jack’s mind or a real place. Triangle uses 
that idea — but other than the genercd art 
deco style of the liner, that is where the 
similarity ends. It soon becomes a psycho- 
logical thriller in the Groundhog Day 
mode. Instead of reliving the same day 
you fell in love, you relive the same day 
you’re trying to survive. Jess becomes 
stuck in this loop and realizes that the 
day is beginning again, and how is she 
going to change it and get out? It’s a 
metaphor about how she was stuck in this 
cycle as a child as weU. There are three 
ideas I’m playing with: One is her mental 
state, one is the metaphor for her life as a 
kid and the third is that it’s all true, and 
she’s actually on this strange ship.” 

Like everyone else aboard Triangle, the 
writer/director attempts to retain a sense 
of mystery about the project. “I don’t 
want to give too much away, but I hate 
movies where everything is ex- 
plained clearly: ‘Oh, God! 


All hands — and the rest of the bodies — on detk! 

They’re dead.’ I find that really annoying, 
and I’m trying to set things up so there 
are potential readings all 
the time. 


beautiful thing 
to have a 

scenario where, even 
as actors, we have 
our own individual 
explanations.” 
—Michael Dorman, 
.factor > 


You’re satisfied, but things are never fully 
resolved. Ambiguity rules! To this day. 
I’ve never completely understood in The 
Shining why he’s in the picture at 
the end.” 

Smith does offer a clue as 
to where his sensibilities lie, 
however: “I don’t like to 
make movies where 
you find out 
that it’s 


all in their minds or 
they’re dead. I prefer for 
it to feel like it’s real. If 
you shoot it that way, the 
audience responds to it 
as if it’s reed. If I see a 
movie where it’s in some- 
one's mind, I feel less 
engaged. What I'm try- 
ing to do is create a film 
that gives your mind the 
same feeling you get 
from watching Memento, 
but without the disrup- 
tive narrative style. It’s 
not an inteUectUed conun- 
drum like that film, in 
the sense that you have 
to ponder it as you move 
through it. Our film is a 
conundrum, but it goes around in a full 
loop — three different loops, actually — 
and you can follow it without wearing 
yourself out.” 

Smith excitedly notes another, rather 
different past genre film that Triangle 
resembles: “I only realized it yester- 
day: It’s Tenebrae. I was looking at 
our scene where candles are snuffed 
out one by one and thinking it’s like 
Argento: very clean and clinical. It 
reminded me of stuff in Suspiria. It 
comes out of nowhere. This isn’t a 
gory film in the Saw sense; it’s just 
very visceral and full-on. There’s a 
scene where a character gets taken 
and you think something is going to 
happen, it doesn’t for a while and 
then, suddenly, it’s level-10 violence 
coming at you like a sledgehammer. It’s 
shot quite wide; it’s almost not graphic 
the way it happens. But it's not creeping 
around in the dark with a camera, either; 
ghost movies on big liners generally don’t 
work that well.” 

Despite his film’s title. Smith is also 
quick to clarify that this is not another in 
the long series of movies set in the notori- 
ous Bermuda Triangle. “Originally, that 
was the idea,” he admits, “and then I 
thought, ‘No, it’s not about that,’ but the 
triangle works in a very clear loop. 
There’s no reference to the Bermuda Tri- 
angle, because it doesn’t really have 
disappearing ships. Then I thought, 
what if I take that idea and instead 
(continued on page 82) 


He's not shooting fish in a barrel. 




www.fangoria.com 


Photos: Copyright First Look 



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C1?IEPS«0W 


Tom Savini 
Dawn of the Dead. 
Maniac, Friday the 13th. 
From Dusk Till Oaftn. 
Planet Tefror, Knightridefs. 
Lost Boys 2. Creepshow 


David Emge 
Dawn of the Dead. 
Basket Case ii, 
Hellmaster 


Gaylen Ross 
Davm of the Dead. 
Madm^. 
Creepshow 


Scott Reiniger 
Dawn of the Dead, 
iCtightridere 


Joe Pitato 
Day of the Dead. 
Dav/n of the Dead, 
Pulp Fiction. War Dog 


Ken Foree 
Dawn of the D^d. 

The Devil's Rejects. 

Rob Zombie's Hallovi^en. 
Uve Evil, Dead Bones. 
Zone of the Dead 


Adrienne Barbeau 
The R)g, Cre^ow, 
Swamp Thing. 

Two Bril ^es. 

The Twilight Zone. 
Camivale 


George A Romero 
Night of die Living Dead. 
Marth.Oawnofthe Dead. 
Creep^ow. Bruser, 

Day of die Dead. 

Diary of the Dead. 

Survival of the Dead 


MAJESTIC 

VENDOR’S 

tLALLl 


Harry Manfredini 
Music Composer 
Friday tie 13th films 


John Amplas 
Martin, 

Dawn of the Dead. 
Day of the Dead. 
Knightriders 


John Russo Russ Strainer 

Night of the Lwing Dead. Ni^t of die Living Dead. 
Majorettes. Santa Claws. M^ettes. 

Return ofthe Living Dead. There's Wv/ays Vanina 
Escape of the UviigOead. 

Saloonatics 


Bill Hinzman 
Night of the Living 
Dead. Flesheater, 
Santa Claws. Shadow: 
Dead Riot, 
the upcoming River 
of Darkness 


Gary Klar 

Day of the Dead. Big. 

Former NFL Rwtball 

Player 


other guests include: Russ Streiner, Roy Frumkes, George Kosana, Joshua Turi, Jim Krut, and morel 

Dead FILM REUNION! Double Feature film screening of - DAWN OF THE DEAD & CREEPSHOW! 
Q&A Sessions & Panel discussion with - GEORGE A. ROMERO & C.^ST OF DAWN OF THE DEAD. 
SPECIAL FX MAKE-UP PRESENTATION - by SNL’s Joshua Turi. 

Premiere of Roy Frumkes’ updated and digitally re-mastered - 

THE DEFiNITIVE DOCUMENT OF THg DEAD 
TWILIGHT ZONE MARATHON & MUCiii, MUCH, MT^E!!! 


The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre, Jersey City, New Jersey 

Minutes from Manhattan! Across from Journal Square Path train! 


SATURDAY 


ALL OATES. VENUES AND GUEST ARE CONSIDERED TENTATIVE AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE. 




By PHILIP NUTMAN 


George A. Romero’s low-budget cult fave gets an update, with 

bigger action and gore gags. 


B lam! Brains and blood splatter the windshield of a big rig as 
the character who just took a shot to the head flies back- 
ward, slamming down on the concrete. Elsewhere in the 
truck bay/workshop, the smell of burning flesh hangs heavy in 
the ciir (actually, the chemical stench of a previously safely-on- 
fire stuntman). Gunfire echoes in the hangar-sized building; 
“Cut!” is called, playback watched, and then on to another setup 
on the remake of George A. Romero’s The Crazies. 

It’s a slightly nippy March night in Georgia, and day 12 of the 
nine-week shoot on the latest gruesome facelift of a ’70s horror 
movie, being directed on a significantly higher budget by Breck 
Eisner (whose credits include Sahara and Fear Itself s The Sacri- 
fice). Having an estimated $25 million to play with gives Eisner 
the opportunity to take Romero’s core concept and give it an 
action-packed approach the original could never achieve due to 
its low budget (shot in 1972, it cost around $220,000). Overture 
Films (the theatrical arm of Starz Media, which owns popular 
genre-centric DVD label Anchor Bay) releases the new Crazies 
February 26. 

This version stars Timothy [A Perfect Getaway) Ol5T)hant as 
heroic small-town sheriff David Dutten, frequent genre heroine 
Radha (Silent Hill) Mitchell as his doctor wife, young British actor 
Joe (The Ruins) Anderson and Danielle Panabaker, who appeared 
last year in another redux, Friday the 13th. The plot follows the 
basic structure of the Romero film: A secret, experimental U.S. 
bio-weapon known as “Trixie” is accidentally released into the 
water supply of Ogden Marsh, a Actional Iowa community. 
(Principal photography is being split between Georgia 
and actual Iowa leasing.) Those exposed start to go 
insane, and the area is sealed off under martial law, 
but four uncontaminated characters — ^the Duttens, 

David’s deputy Russell (Anderson) and high- 
school student Becca (Panabaker) — attempt to 
escape, dodging both homicidal neighbors and 
the trigger-happy military. 

As the classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre 
s ^ poster line once screamed, “Who 
^ will survive and what wfll be left of 
. " them?” (Since the night Fango is 
) ) on location features suiprise inci- 
dents toward the movie’s climax, 
we’ll be vague on certain points; 
this is a spoiler-free set report.) 

Among the supporting cast cire 
24' s Glenn Morshower, veteran 


Valentine) and the first Crazies’ Lynn Lowry. 

Two scenes are shooting simultaneously ^ ^ 
tonight. Elsewhere in this vacant South Georgia 
gas station/convenience store/diner/truck stop, W ^ 
now renamed Quick Phil’s, Eisner is off rehears- 
ing with Mitchell, whose Dr. Judy Dutten is hiding 
in the dark behind a diner service counter as she tries 
to evade detection by a Trixie-infected hunter with a 
desire to gut her. Olyphant is in the makeup trailer, get- 
ting ready for his shots in the same scene, while the 2nd 
unit is having way too much fun setting people on fire, 
shooting off guns and spraying gore around. 

Eisner admits that the production company 
was very fortunate to find this cavernous 
space, which had been vacated a few weeks . 

before the Crazies team discovered it J 

when its owner lost a tenant. “The I 

problem we found,” the direc- I 

tor notes, “was that all ,. 1 

these [kinds of] , 

places are 
sub- 


-*■ 1 
^ i 


actor/occasional creature per- 
former Larry (Dreamscape) 
Cedar, The Signal's Justin 
Welbom, Chris Camel (the 
miner in 2009’s My Bloody 


4 



leased, and no one wants to shut 
down for 12 hours at night 
and have a film crew come 
in because they believe 
S '- they’re going to lose too 
' ^ much money.” 

‘ ^ But there’s no 

^ ^ substitute for a 

B real location: 

It “Quick Phil’s” 

nk . looks so au- 

■m thentic that this re- 

1^^ porter pulled off the 

highway to gas up 
and ask for di- 
rections, only to 
discover the illumi- 
nated venue was 
inoperative, and 
didn’t figure out it 
was his destination 
^ 1 imtil he finally saw all 
1 the crew vehicles nes- 
Hjf tied a block away. 
'By Jw Since the structure 
neighbor — 
a massage parlor/adult 
novelties emporium on the 
V other side of the highway — 
P ^ the location is ideal for firing 
* weapons, mass mayhem and 
smashing a truck through the 
side of the building, which is 
planned as the last shot of the night. 
As Eisner excuses himself to con- 
fer with his lead actors, Fango is 
introduced to Rob Cowan, one of 
the film’s producers (with 
Michael Aguilar and Dean 
Georgaris), who is over- 
seeing the 2nd-unit 
' slaughterfest. “This 

isnotazom- 
* Die mov- 


Some people will go to unpleasant lengths to keep a contagion 
from spreading. 

ie,” he notes. “As in the original, these people are infected, not 
dead, and we worked hard to come up with a concept that was 
removed from the rotting-flesh and wasting-away look.” Indeed, 
the visual style and the feel of The Crazies, from what Fango 
hears and observes, is more akin to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days 
Later — a movie heavily indebted to Romero’s original. 

That challenge of bringing the infected to life fell to makeup 
FX designer/supervisor and Fango friend Robert Hall, a veteran 
demon and vampire-maker for TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 
Angel who moved on to features such as The Burrowers, Vacancy 
and, most pertinently. Quarantine. In fact, many of The Crazies’ 
key creative personnel have serious genre credits under their 
- belts, including the screenwriters. Initially remained by 
Scott Kosar, whose resume includes two previous re- 
makes (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amity- 
, ville Horror] as well as The Machinist, the script was 
rewritten by Ray Wright, who also contributed to 


"Trixie" is a death sentence for Bill (Brett Rickaby). 




Homicidal madness striking a rural tawn results 
in the inevitable misuse of farming tools. 

a past redux (2006 ’s Pulse) and penned 
the much-postponed Renee Zellweger- 
starring horror/thriller Case 39. 

“I'm not usually interested in re- 
makes, but the core story of the original 
and Scott and Ray’s scripts was so strong, 
it was a movie I believed was ready for 
this time,” says Cowan. (The rights to 
Romero’s movie were secured by Aguilar 
and Georgaris; Cowan came on board due 
. to his relationship with Overture, 
' which greenlighted the project 
• after it stalled at Paramount, ften 
Rogue Pictures.) 

Typically, screenwriters aren’t 
on set during filming, but Wright read- 
ily agrees to offer his take on The Crazies 
via an e-mail interview a few days later. 
Prior to making his first sale, Wright 
spent three years at the Michener Center 
for Writers, a graduate program at the 
University of Texas at Austin, before mov- 
ing to Los Angeles in 2000. “I never went 
to film school, but I’ve alwa5^ loved mov- 


ies,” he says. “I started writing short sto- 
ries in college and switched to screen- 
writing after a short, unhappy stint in the 
insurance business. I like both originals 
and adaptations,” he adds when asked 
about his track record of adapting existing 
works. “There’s a greater sense of freedom 
in origincils but a greater sense of security 
in adaptations, because they usually be- 
gin with a paycheck and studio backing. 
From a writing standpoint, the process is 
the same; you have to make the story your 
own, even if the concept isn’t yours.” 

Wright adds that The Crazies wasn’t a 
pet project: “I have to confess, I had never 
heard of the original movie when the pro- 
ject first came my way. I watched it 
before starting my rewrite. The 
movie feels a bit dated after 30 
years, but the dramatic situa- 
tion was compelling — small 
town under siege — and 
that’s what attracted 
me to the project. 

Also, Romero is a 
legend, so I felt 
privileged to work 
on something he 
created.” 

For Wright, two scenes 
were either a curse or a 
blessing; one he considers the 
biggest challenge, the other a 
favorite grace note. “There’s a se- 
quence at the high school near the 
beginning of act two that was tricky to get 
right,” he explains. “It’s a pivotal moment 


drone. It’s the coda on a scene, this house 
burning in a sea of blackness. I just love 
the image, the isolation it creates after 
the eruption of violence.” 

Despite the hurdles involved, Wright 
had a good time penning the Crazies 
script. “Collaborating with Dean Geor- 
garis, Michael Aguilar and Breck Eisner 
was a great experience from stcirt to fin- 
ish,” he says. “They were open-minded 
and trusted my instincts. I always felt I 
had the freedom to experiment.” 

The scribe initially did three drafts 
after replacing Kosar while the project 
was set up at Paramount, then further 
revisions once the project was picked up 
in turnaround by Rogue before it 
eventually wound up at Overture. 
Tn the end. I’ve probably done a 
half-dozen drafts,” he notes, 
‘but most of the significant 
revisions happened in 
the first one.” 

That said, 
Wright emphasiz- 
es the rewarding 
aspects of team- 
ing with Eisner. 
Breck and I have 
worked very closely to- 
gether. He’s been involved 
at every stage of the writing 
process and at all levels, from 
scene construction to line edits. 
After disappointing experiences on 
Pulse and Case 39, it was a joy to work 
with a director who is a true collaborator.” 


“I didn’t 
want to make 
a military movie. 

I was more interested 
in the human story. 
—Breck Eisner,^ 
director 



Robert Hall's makeup FX moke swine flu look like the sniffles. 


in the story, and also a point of accelera- 
tion. The difficulty was satisfying the 
expositional requirements of that portion 
of the movie without killing the story’s 
momentum. [But] my favorite scene in tie 
movie is a moment that probably won’t 
make the final cut, where we’re looking 
down on a burning farmhouse from high 
above — the point of view of a surveillance 


“I was familiar with Romero’s work, 
but not really familiar with The Crazies, 
which I’d seen in high school,” Eisner 
says. “I became reacquainted with the 
movie when Michael and Dean started 
discussing the remake, but I didn’t really 
relate to the material, as the script they 
had was much more slanted toward the 
military perspective. It had an almost 




director of photography Maxime Alexandre (who shot Alexandre J 
Aja’s High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes). Meanwhile, ^ 
Olyphant appears on set and patiently waits to film his first 4^ 
scene of the day. ^ 

“I liked the script,” is his simple answer 
to why he decided to take The 4 
Crazies' lead. “These cire real people 
in a believable situation. What would 
you do if your neighbors all turned homi- , 
cidal? This is a much better movie , 
than Hitman," he adds, referring to 4 
g^|||lB||||L his video-game-based actioner of a ^ 

couple of years ago. 

“This film is going to keep audi- 4 
ences on the edges of their seats,” 
Mitchell adds, joining her co-star as ^ 
Eisner and Alexandre discuss shoot- 4 
ing the next take from j _diff£r<^p,t 
angle. “Breck has an instinct for 4 
building suspense, and he's making ^ 
these characters believable, and people ^ 
you really care about. It's 4 
very claustro- a 


Bourne Identity feel to it that didn’t work for me. But I was inter- 
ested in the idea of a virus created by the Army that then has to 
try to destroy it, and the question becomes what lengths they 
will go to protect the country. 

“But I didn’t want to make a military movie,” he con- 
tinues. “I was more interested in the human story, and 
how the people in this small town react to the 
infection. Once we brought Ray on board, I 
knew we’d found the right writer, and we 
worked very closely together on develop- 
ing the story over a two-year period.” 

Back on the main set, behind the 
diner counter, Mitchell crouches in - ^ . 

the dark. Somewhere in the room, 
someone — or something — moves. 

Gunfire explodes off camera. 

Mitchell runs for it, charging 
down an almost pitch-black cor- 
ridor which leads to the kitchen tiWtf * 

area and a walk-in meat locker, ’ I 

where she discovers the handi- ^ 

work of three infected hunters. ^ jJ^ ■ 

Eisner calls “Cut” and in- " ; 

structs everyone to prep for ^ ,• ■6j| 

a second take before ' * ^ 

conferring 

with ■ • .fe 


There must be something in the 
air for two major horror releases 
next month to center on 
something in the water. 




bic, and very different from Silent Hill, 
which obviously was more fantastical.” 

Eisner calls Mitchell back to her posi- 
tion, and seeing he’s not going to be need- 
ed for a while, Olyphant goes in search of 
a coffee. Back in the hangar-sized truck 
bay, the 2nd unit is setting up multiple 
silent shots. The guy who had his brains 
blown out within the last hour is now laid 
out on a crash mat for a handheld close-up 
of the nasty head wound. Unfortunately, 
the blood won’t flow in the right direction. 
Take two: The blood still runs the wrong 
way. Take three: The actor blinks, blow- 
ing the shot. By take six, a nice, sizable 
puddle of red engulfs his head. “Cut and 
print that one,” Cowan orders before not- 
ing, “Sometimes, it’s the simplest shots 
which take up the most time.” 

Elsewhere on the set, another camera- 
man shoots insert shots of the grue- 
drenched truck windshield and cranial 
matter sliding off the steering wheel. 
Since it’s close to “lunchtime” (i.e., nearly 
11 p.m.), a crewmember quips that he has 
lost his appetite. Another guy says the 
splattered brains resemble the oatmeal he 
had for breakfast. Bad jokes about blood, 
guts and eating follow. 

In an adjacent room. Hall and Atlanta- 
based FX artist Toby (The Signal] Sells, 
who is assisting him tonight, touch up the 
gruesome makeup on one of the hunter 
characters, Nathan, played by Tahmus 
Rounds. The contact lenses the actor 
wears are truly disturbing, and it’s diffi- 
cult to watch as Hall proceeds. “We 
decided to go for a human look — a human 
after they’ve been infected with some- 
thing like rabies,” he explains. “We 
decided we’d add to the crazies, instead of 
take away and give them that rotting, 
withering zombie look.” 


How ironic that an Army experiment leads to a complete lack of respect for authority figures, like 
sheriff Dutten (Timothy Olyphant). 


The story takes place over 72 hours. 
Hall explains. “Once infected, the first 
stage is a catatonic state before they get 
hyper, but we’re kind of skipping that and 
focusing more on the full-scale madness. 
The hunters aren’t the first contaminat- 
ed — there are a couple of other people who 
contract the virus before them — but they 
make three appearances in the movie and 
are a major threat, especially to the he- 
roes. These guys have required more work 
than most of the other Trixie victims.” 

The main and most impressive hunter, 
Jesse, is played by Brett Wagner, a.k.a. 
“Big Schwag” from Ultimate Pro Wrest- 
ling and, like Hall, a Buffy and Angel vet- 
eran (Wagner played the popular demon 
Bohg’dar on the latter show). At over 6- 


feet-6, Wagner dominates the room, and 
his right ear, which appears well-chewed 
and is crusted with dried blood, is partic- 
ularly unnerving. Watching his imposing 
figure, covered in crusted gore, joshing 
with the crew is slightly surreal. 

“I love horror movies,” Wagner says. 
“In fact, I started acting at age 21 be- 
cause that’s all I wanted to do, be in hor- 
ror films. But it ended up that I didn’t get 
to be in anything in our genre until a few 
years ago.” The actor laughs and shrugs. 
“I really like working with Rob. He’s one 
of the most talented makeup artists in the 
business.” Although Wagner’s visage is 
composed of several sUicone facial appli- 
ances, including the chewed-looking ear 
cover, the application process is fairly 


Photos: Saeed Adyani/Copyright Overture Films/Participant Media 






The only thing worse than the symptoms of this hio-toxin is its ultimate "cure." 


short. “We’ve got it down to just over an 
hour,” Hall explains. 

Lunch is called, and Wagner invites 
his favorite magazine to join him. “I want 
to tell you something I’ve never told any- 
one in the media before,” he says as we 
line up for chow. “I actually got the part of 
Leatherface in the Texas Chainsaw Mas- 
sacre remake, but I had an accident before 
shooting started and was replaced [by 
Andrew Bryniarski] at the last mmute. I 
was crushed. Playing Leatherface would 
have been a dream come true, but I’m 
having so much fun in The Crazies playing 
Jesse that I’m happy to talk about it now.” 
Wagner smiles, but with his infected face, 
the effect is grotesque. 

After lunch, while the 1st and 2nd 


units prepare their next setups, Eis- 
ner t^es a few minutes out to 
resume our interview. “Now that 
we’re filming, the aspect I’m 
most excited about is the 
story itself, the way the 
people relate to each 
other and how they 
face the situation 
they’re in,” he 
sajrs. “All the hard 
work we put into the 
script has paid off. I 
love the world we’re paint 


that Romero couldn’t afford. This isn’t a 
big-budget movie, but we can cer- 
tainly do larger-scale setpieces 
that the original couldn’t even 
consider. So I believe we’re 
“We worked 'X . doing the material justice, 

hard to come up ^ ^ 


with a concept that 
was removed from the 
rotting-flesh look.” 
—Rob Cowan, 
producer 


to remake something 
like Psycho; that 
movie’s perfect.” 
That said, Eisner 
is, at the time of this in- 
terview, attached to direct 
the remake of the ’50s clas- 


ing, this small-town America, 
and then taking these realistic 
characters and turning their real- 
ity upside down.” 



Russell (Joe Anderson), David and Judy Dutten (Radha Mitchell) 
and Becca (Danielle Panabaker) are only figuratively sick of hanging 
around Ogden Marsh. 


And he believes 
that this particular re- 
visiting of a 1970s cult 
item is fully justified. 
“If you’re going to re- 
make a movie, there 
had better be a good 
reason to do it,” he 
says. “For Romero, the 
biggest challenge mak- 
ing The Crazies was the 
budget — which, being 
$200,000, $250,000 or 
whatever, was really 
limiting for a subject 
that requires some lev- 
el of scale. We couldn’t 
get military support, 
but we have indepen- 
dently owned heli- 
copters and hardware 


sic The Creature from the Black 
Lagoon (he subsequently left the 
project), so how does he justify that? 

“That movie is very dear to my heart, 
but it was made over 50 years ago, in a 
totally different time,” he explains. “With 
the technology today, we can do something 
different while respecting the original.” 
Then he’s called back on set to approve 
the blocking for another sequence, in 
which Nathan chases Judy into a glass 
walled office and fires off his shotgun. 

Wagner, who has been in makeup 
for over six hours and wonders when 
he’s going to shoot his scheduled 
scenes, sits down with Fango to 
watch Eisner discuss camera angles 
with the 2nd unit. “The die-hard fans 
are going to enjoy this movie,” he says. 
“It’s filled with suspense, tension, shocks 
and scares, and when the hunters do 
their stuff. . .weU, Breck’s not skimping ot 
the aftermath.” 


iss- 


TO BE CONTINUED 


www.fangoria.com 


ctiNX/sBLsniyis/NdoiAviuyj 







THE 

WOLFMAN 

Hair Today, Gore Tomorrow 


By MARK SALISBURY 


■J 


he beast is back, and he’s staring 
FANGORIA right in the eye. It’s 
May 2008, and the end of a long 
day at England’s Pinewood Studios, 
where your correspondent has been given 
a teint^izing behind-the-scenes tour of 
Universal’s latest attempt to mine its 
classic horror back catalog, following the 
successful revamp of The Mummy. After 
visiting various sets and interviewing 
some of the cast and crew of The Wolfman, 
we have decamped to a windowless room 
to chat with makeup legend Rick Baker 
about the task of turning star Benicio Del 
Toro into the eponymous monster. 

Midway through our chat, the lights go 
out, plunging the room into total dark- 
ness. “Stay calm,” instructs the film’s 
unit publicist, “it’s just a problem vrith the 
fuse.” But something is afoot. Suddenly, 
there’s movement at a door, and a large 
shape enters the room. As our eyes be- 
come accustomed to the gloom, Fango can 
make out the silhouette of a 7-foot-plus 
Wolfman, chowing down on a severed 
arm. As the lights come back up, this 
growling, slavering, hirsute beast bounds 
over and puts his snarling, fanged-filled 
face within inches of our own. And roars. . . 

Fango isn’t scared. OK, that’s a lie. 
We’re bloody terrified, although we’re 
doing a good job of not showing it. But 
staring down the Wolfman (actually 
stuntman Spencer Wilding behind aU the 
makeup) ain’t easy. Soon, the creature 
has had enough of trying to terrify this 
horror scribe and rushes out of the room. 
There’s a beat, followed by a collective 
sigh of relief and a round of applause from 
everyone present. After your correspon- 
dent gets his breath back, everyone 
> agrees that if The Wolfman (open- 


F«)«0 

42 ' 


ing February 12) can capture even a 
fraction of that impact, it’s going to 
be a damn scary film. 

From the moment The Wolfman 
was announced, excitement was 
high. Originally calling the shots 
was Mark Romanek, a music video 
veteran and writer/director of the 
sleeper One Hour Photo, with Baker; 
the multi-Oscar-winning FX legend 
behind An American Werewolf in 
London, hired to transform Del Toro 
into the titular monster. Next, An- 
thony Hopkins (who previously re- 
visited a Univers 2 d staple in Bram 
Stoker's Dracula), Emily [Wind 
Chill] Blunt and the Matrix films’ 

Hugo Weaving joined the cast. 

Sets were built in Brit- 
ain. But then, trouble 
struck: Romanek ank- 
led the production a 
month before filming ■ 
was to begin, citing 
creative differences, 
leaving the studio 
scrambling to replace 
him before the project 
fell apart. 

“That was a tough one, 
man,” Del Toro says of 
Romanek’s departure. “He 
had his vision and his thing, 
and at some point we didn’t have 
the movie.” 

Various names were mentioned as 
Romanek’s replacement, eimong them 
John Landis, Frank Darabont and Casino 
Royale's Martin Campbell, but it was Joe 
Johnston, director of furassic Park III and 
The Rocketeer, who got the nod. The 
clock, however, was ticking. Principal 






V 


The moon is full and bhight. the 

WOLFBANE iS BLOOMING AND THE CLASSIC 
MONSTEH IS HOWLING AGAIN. 







Lomant 
choices 
[e had 
it was 
game. 


It has taken quite a 
long tine for this ftril 
moon to rise. 













Photo and cover: Frank Conner 






The lambs have stopped screaming for Anthony 
Hopkins, who must now deal with a more 
vicious animal. 



vf 


4 


Inspector Abberline (Hugo Weaving) tackles his 
* hairiest case yet. 

, . with certain locations. We did a fairly ex- 
, , tensive rewrite of the script, as much as we 

’ '•> . , could get away with at that point, 

F#195^ and I feel that while I’ve made my 
f s ■■ own version of The Wolfinan, Mark 
‘_,_had, in a way, a similar vision in 
mind. I had to adapt to some of the 
, ^ things he had decided upon, and I made 

the best of it. But it was not a situation 
where I had to come in and throw every- 
thing out, or even wanted to throw eveiy- 
^ thing out, and wouldn't have been able to 
anyway. I took over the steering wheel at 
some point, and aimed in a slightly differ- 
^ _ ent direction. But it wasn’t like a complete 
reimagining of the script or the story.” 


Even with digital 
enhancement, the goal was 
to olways allow audiences to 
see the man (Benicio Del 
Toro) beneath the wolf. 





The initial idea to remake George 
Waggner’s 1941 monster classic The Wolf 
Man had been that of Del Toro and his 
manager, Rick Yom. “I’m a fan of those 
old horror movies, especially the Utriver- 
sal films from the ’30s,” the actor says. “I 
have this poster in my house, an old 
poster of the Lon Chaney Jr. Wolf Man. 
Rick came by one day and saw it, and said, 
‘We should propose this to Universal.’ ” So 
they did. Scott Stuber, then co-head of 
production at Universal and now a pro- 
ducer on the film, liked what he heard and 
gave them the go-ahead to begin develop- 
ment on a script, with Se7en and Sleepy 
Hollow scribe Andrew Kevin Walker 
brought on to write it. 

“He had a great idea, a great take on 
it,” Del Toro recalls of the initial scripter. 
“We got lucky because he drew the map, 
the template of the movie we see now. 
There were other writers involved, but 
Andrew Kevin Walker created the skele- 
ton of it." 

Walker’s script — which was later re- 
worked by David (Road to Perdition) Self 
at Johnston’s behest — cleaves close to the 
plot of the Chaney movie, with Del Toro 
plasnng Lawrence Talbot, the estranged 
son of Sir John Talbot (Hopkins), a former 
big-game hunter who now lives alone on 
his English country estate. “He’s an 
actor,” says Del Toro of Lawrence. “He 
was bom in England, and shipped out to 
his aunt in America. Then, maybe 20 
years, 25 years later, he’s [on stage] in 
London when he gets a letter from Gwen 
[Blunt], his brother’s fiancee, that his 
brother has been missing for some time. 
He decides to go home, and gets inter- 
ested in finding out what happened to 


him, with this idea of some animal loose in 
the forest and what really killed him.” 

When Lawrence is bitten by a were- 
wolf, the fun really begins. “The original 
was set in some weird time," Del Toro con- 
tinues. “You don’t really know if it’s ’Victo- 
rian England, or the turn of the century, or 
the ’30s, because at the beginning there’s 
a car, and after that you never see the car 
again. I thought it would be complicated 
to do a werewolf with cars around, or tele- 
phones. It’s been done, anyway, with Wolf, 
which is great for what it is. But we 
wanted to stick more to the fantasy, the 
feeling of those horror movies from the 
past, [which were set] before the era of 
the machine. It would be easier to make it 
believable in some ways. But it was 
Walker who took it to Victorian England.” 

It’s apparent during Fango’s set tour 
that Johnston’s Wolfinan is paying more 
than lip service to the 1941 film, staying 
faithful to its plot — so expect more than 
one wolfman — and retaining both charac- 
ter names cmd props. Production designer 
Heinrichs shows off Del Toro’s silver 
wolf’s-head cane, which is an exact 
replica of the one Chaney carried. The 
new film will feature the classic gypsy 
rhyme (spoken, this time around, by The 
Orphanage's Geraldine Chaplin), and of 
course. Baker’s Wolfman makeup is a trib- 
ute to Jack Pierce’s on Chaney. 

“The whole movie is kind of a hom- 
age,” Baker notes. “It has the look of a 
Hammer film as well, mainly because it’s 
in color and shot in England. And the hair- 
style Benicio wears as Lawrence is Oliver 
Reed’s from Curse of the Werewolf. There 
were times when we’d have him made up 
and he’d strike a pose in the doorway, and 


Over 25 years later, Rick 
Baker mode up another 
American werewolf in London. 





we instantly knew it was Reed in Curse." 

“The original Wolf Man was one of my 
favorite films," Johnston says, “and I 
really wanted to retell the story in a clas- 
sic fonn. I didn’t want it to be a slasher 
movie. I wanted to update it and make the 
characters more interesting and tlie story 
much more complex than in the Chaney 
film. But I wanted fans of the first film to 
be pleasantly surprised at the fact that 
they can see that story inside this one.” 

When Fango visits The Wolfman, the 
issue of whether the man-to-beast trans- 
formations will be done using makeup FX, 
CGI or a combination thereof has yet to be 
resolved. In the end, digital FX won out. 
“We all knew there would be a transfor- 
mation," Baker recalls, “and I said I didn’t 
know what to do to make this a showstop- 
per like in American Werewolf, because 
there we had a naked man turning into a 
foim-legged hound from hell. In this movie, 
you have Benicio Del Toro, and Benicio Del 
Toro with hair on him. I said, T don’t know 
what to do,’ and nobody else did, initially. 
Kind of what happened was, like, ‘We’ll 
think about it later,’ and when you think 
about it later, it has to be a CG thing.” 

“We discussed doing the transforma- 
tion as makeup devices and building them 
out of steel and rubber,” Johnston ex- 
plains, “the way it has traditionally been 
done in the past, and nobody is better at 
that kind of thing than Rick Baker. It does 
not allow you complete flexibility, and you 
have to decide up front, before he ever 
goes off to build anything, what the trans- 
formation is going to be like. And you 
have to be pretty specific about it. With 
CGI, you can change your mind at any 
point in the process. You can say, ‘I 


wanted the snout to enlarge here, but I 
think instead I want it to stay where it is 
and I’d like the color of the skin to 
change.’ You can do literally anything you 
want, and that was really what appealed 
to me about doing the transformation as 
CGI. But once the transformation is com- 
plete, it’s Benicio in the makeup.” 

Did Johnston check out all the other 
cinematic man-to-wolf transitions before 
settling on his own? “I looked at every one 
ever done,” he says, “mostly [to decide] 
what to avoid. I wanted this to be a trans- 
formation you hadn’t seen before, and 
sometimes tlie very subtle tilings are the 
eeriest, whether it’s a hand changing 
shape or teeth being pushed aside. That 
can be much more painful-looking, and 
it’s a haunting image. We’ve all seen feet 
change shape and claws grow. Here it’s a 
face that looks like Benicio Del Toro, but 
suddenly the eyeball is enlarging and the 


Del Toro and Hopkins trusted late-arriving 
director Joe Johnston (center) to take his 
best shot with this remoke. 


skin around it is stretching and pulling 
hack. That wiU be more horrific than 
fangs and claws and feet changing shc^e.” 

In designing the look of Del Toro’s 
Wolfman, both Baker and the actor were 
of a similar mindset. ‘“What was great 
about the movie was working with Beni- 
cio, and the fact that he’s a monster kid,” 
Baker says. “He grew up on monster mov- 
ies, he had monster magazines, he used to 
play the Wolf Man when he was a kid and 
his brother would play Frankenstein’s 
Monster. We clicked right away because 
we had that common background. I know 
there were some discussions before I 
came on board about what this Wolfman 
was going to look like, and Benny pulled 
out a DVD cover of The Wolf Man with a 
picture of Lon Chaney Jr., and said, ‘That’s 
it, that’s the Wolfman, that’s what it 
should look like.’ 

“The veiy first design I did was Beni- 




f 


L. 

* . cio as the Chaney Wolf Man,” Baker re- 
■> . veals. “I didn’t think that was necesscuily 
-T the right approach for a Wblfman movie 
.:r made in this day and age, so the next 
design I did was what I wanted it to be, 
j which still is very close to the original 
M^//Min, cunped up with bigger teeth and 
c stuff. And my number two, which was 
O really Rick’s design number one, is our 
Wolfraan, basically." 

_ “The most important thing for me was 


Sometimes iuold shower 
just isn't enough to keep 
the animal at hay. 





”We wanted 
to stick to...the 
feeling of those 
horror movies 
from the past” 
— Benicio Del 
Toro, actor j 



that you see Benicio underneath the 
makeup,” Johnston adds. “That’s what 
worked so well vrith the original. Rather 
than say, ‘Let’s make Benicio look like 
Lon Chaney,’ I wanted it to be an inter- 
pretation of Lawrence if he became a 
wolf. That was more important than 
resembling anything we had seen before. 
And I see it instantly when he wears the 
makeup. I can see Benicio underneath it, 
and 1 believe an audience wUl, too. That’s 
one of the things that mcikes the role 
work, that you know it’s your main char- 
acter inside the makeup.” 

Early on. The Wolfman was set to be re- 
leased in November 2008, with Johnston 
and his cast visiting that summer’s San 
Diego Comic-Con as part of the promo- 
tional buildup. But then Universd post- 
poned the movie until first February 2009, 
then April, then November before finally 
settling on February 2010. The delays did 
little to assuage the perception that The 



Wolfman was a movie in trouble, a situa- 
tion seemingly underlined when the pro- 
duction undertook five weeks of reshoots 
last spring, with acclaimed action/2nd- 
unit director Vic Armstrong brought in to 
punch up the ending. 

“In the original script, there was a 
much longer sequence at the end and a 
setpiece in London where the Wolfman is 
running loose,” Johnston explains, “and 
they were originally cut to save money. 
We went and shot the film, came back and 
put it all together, and it was immediately 
apparent to everyone why those sequenc- 
es were originally in the story, so we went 
back to shoot a bunch of new stuff for the 
end. We did reshoot other things as well, 
since we were going back to film new 





material. That has happened to me sev- 
eral times, where you try and save money 
up front in the script and storyboard 
phase, and say, ‘The movie will work with- 
out this.’ And then you find that some- 
thing is lacking after you shoot the film 
without those things, and you need to go 
back and do them.” 

Johnston insists they didn’t shoot a 
new ending as such, but rather that the 
reshoots enhanced what was already 
there. “There were two versions of the 
ending, and I don’t want to give you any 
spoDers, but it basically involved the fate 
of the Wolfman. While we have material 
for two endings, when we went back to 
shoot the new footage, we enhanced one 
of those because our suspicion was that it 
was going to be the more dyncunic ending. 
So we filmed some new material for 




Gwen (Emily Blunt) may regret her curiosity about her fiance's fate. 


that — the B version of the ending — which 
is now the one that’s in the film.” 

TWo endings? “It was two versions of 
an ending,” he clarifies. “One was where 
one character died, and in the other a dif- 
ferent person died, and when you see the 
film, it will be obvious what I’m talking 
about. But we had to decide what to do 
after our first preview, and it was clear 
that we wanted the ending to go one way. 
So when we went back to shoot the new 
material, we enhanced that version. We 
extended it and made it more rewarding.” 

The reshoots also added a flashback/ 
dream sequence with a strange, albino- 
like creature that can be briefly glimpsed 
in The Wolfman' s, second trailer. Baker 
says this creation had nothing to do with 
him, explaining, “It was done by NeUl Gor- 
ton [whose credits include From Hell, Sev- 
erance and Children of Men]. Conceptually, 


www.fangoria.com 


Photos: Copyright Universal 



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and produced hundreds of award winning TV spots, 
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teaching all the secrets of the biz at 
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The filmmakers insist The Wolfman's long delay is no claws for alarm. 


I think it’s a real mistake, and that’s why 
I didn’t do it. I don’t know what it is. 
Neill came in to do that, and some addi- 


tional blood-and-guts stuff. They wanted 
to add some gore, cind when the reshoots 
happened, there was very little time for 
us to make what they wanted, so Neill 
came on board.” 

A week or so after Fango speaks to 
Johnston, the Internet is abuzz with a 
report that two new editors have been 
drafted to recut The Wolfman, further 
adding to the film’s already difficult pro- 
duction process. In addition, Danny Elf- 
man, who had been set to score the film, 
was replaced by Paul Haslinger, who did 
the music for the first and third Under- 
world features. Even so, Fango remains 


optimistic that The Wolfman will deliver. 

“It’s still definitely a hard R,” Johnston 
insists. “In a film like this, you want to 
make the audience uncomfortable in 
places, you want them to react to things, 
and the way to do that is to put it in a con- 
text that they understand. The transfor- 
mations are very horrific, because we see 
a man becoming an animal against his 
will. He’s fighting it, and his bones are 
changing shape and his skin is stretching, 
and I want it to look painful. To me, those 
are some of the hardest parts of the film to 
watch, because it looks like he’s in agony. 
But there are plenty of good scares.” 








e 


Left 4 Dead 2 

Valve 

Xbox 360/PC (reviewed on Xbox 360) 

If Left 4 Dead was the experiment, Left 4 Dead 
2 is the monster it spawned. Bigger, badder and 
oh-so-much-bloodier, L4D2 is a thrilling exercise in 
paranoia. Barely a year has gone by since the original game 
(Fango #281 ) dropped players into a zombie apocalypse and 
changed horror-survival adventures forever. This time around, 
four new survivors represent the gamer as you fight your way 
through five new "movies" within Deep South locations. 

What's different? First, the Al director that made the previous 
edition a fresh experience every time you played has been 
Not only are the infected more parkour-oriented 
ng undead, but the game adds weather and changes 
the locations of items and areas to fit how well an individual is 
playing. Severed body parts and wounds are more gruesomely 
detailed. Addi- 
tional weapons 
have been added 
the survivors' kit 
bags, including a 
chainsaw, a frying 
lan and a katana 
lade. The melee 
weapons seem to 
be the better way 
to go in L4D2, as 
you have to navi- 
gate through more 
enclosed areas. A 
cricket bat will 
take off a ghoul's 
head faster than 
an AK-47. New 
mutants have also 
been added to the 
mix: There's a spit- 
ter that jettisons 
thick, green, 
acidic goo and a 
crusher that treats 

ou like a football — plus a jockey zombie that piggy- 
acks on your shoulders and leads you into harm's way 
that's nothing but annoying. I could have seriously done 
without thatl 

L4D2 truly shines in the multiplayer levels, and is the 
real reason to get this game. A new "realism" vs. level is 
added that takes away all the hints, leaving you and your 
friends at fate's mercy. L4D2 is survival-horror perfection — and 
receives the first extra skull above our usual top rating of four 
that HorrorCade has ever given a game. 


GAME RATING; 


Resident EvH: The Darkstde 
Chronicles 

Capcom 
Nintendo Wil 

After nearly jumping the shark 
with Resident Evil 5 (Fango #285), 
Capcom had a long, bloody hill to 
climb in order to win back fans of this 
survival-horror series. Although Dark- 
side Chronicles isn't perfect, it's a sat- 
isfying way back to the Resident Evil 
we all know and love. The Darkside 
Chronicles is an on-rail arcade 
shooter in the vein of the House of the 
Dead series, and a direct sequel to 
The Umbrella Chronicles (Fango 

#271 ). In this adventure, players are reunited with Leon S. Kennedy 
from Resident Evil 2 and 4 and Claire Redfield from 2 and Code Veron- 
ica as they traverse scenarios from previous Resident Evil games as well 
as new locales. 

The story begins in 2002, with Leon and fellow U.S. Special Forces 
agent Jack Krauser hunting for drug lord Javier Hidalgo in South Amer- 
ica. They find that Umbrella may have infected young girls with a Bio- 
Organic Weapon. Proof is found in an old church, and an encounter 
causes Leon to revisit memories of the Raccoon City horrors of 1 998. 

The Darkside Chronicles switches from past and future events to pre- 
sent a very compelling narrative. Nintendo's Wii-mote seems made for 
these types of games, as it offers pinpoint accuracy even while playing 
with another gamer by your side. Reloading the gun can get a bit sticky 
during tense moments, but for the most part, upgrading and customiz- 
ing your weapon is a smooth operation. The developers have improved 
the camera system, which now moves and shakes along with you. They 
have also tweaked the Al so that the game adjusts its difficulty depend- 
ing on how well you're playing. And what about blood? The Darkside 
Chronicles doesn't disappoint. In fact, you can almost feel the splatter 
on your face as you play. Resident Evil is back! 


GAME RATING: 

Undead Knights 

Tecmo 
PSP/PSPGo 

Alice Cooper once sang, "I love the 
dead!" With all the zombies in the media 
these days, I would say he is no longer 
alone in that sentiment. But how many of us 
would actually like to rise from a safe, 
warm grave? Well, what if you were able 
to create and command your own ghoul 
army? Yeah, I thought that would get you. 

Undead Knights gives you the chance 
to live out that fantasy. In this PSP exclusive, 
you play as a member of the House of 
Blood, o royal family that rules the Kingdom of Cavalier. Enter the mys- 


By BRIAN O’TOOLE 


www.fangoria.com 





□ 


tery woman Fatima, who bewitches King Gradis and has every one of 
the Blood brood slaughtered. However, the House of Blood refuses to 
stay dead, and they sell their souls in order to avenge their betrayal. 
The zombified family rises to seek revenge by sucking the souls of the 
living and adding them to their army of darkness. 

The game play here is very reminiscent of God of War, with the 
puzzle-solving point-ond-command control of Overlord. This is not just 
a button-smashing beat-'em-up; as zombies tend to do, they will rot 
quickly, so you have to always refresh your army with new blood. The 
ghouls you create can also be used as weapons — projectiles against 
boss characters. Ur\dead Knights' music is performed by the heavy 
metal band Lightning Swords of Death, and really drives the energy. 

Undead Knights is perfect for the handheld gaming format; the 20 
levels last about 1 5-20 minutes each, which is just right for a bus or 
train ride. But beware: The levels are quite addictive, so you may miss 
a stop, like I often have. Vive the dead! Vive Undead Knightsl 

GAME RATING: 

Fairytale Fights 

Playlogic 

Xbox 360 /PlayStation 3 (reviewed on Xbox 360) 

Fairytale Fights follows four residents of Taleville — Red Riding Hood, 
Snow White, the Naked Emperor and Beanstalk Jack — who have lost 
their fame to the likes of the Brave Little Tailor. So our forgotten heroes 
decide to take it back by slicing, dicing, hacking, whacking and pulver- 
izing the wicked denizens of the enchanted lands that border Taleville — 
and any innocent bystanders who might get in the way. 


The characters' weapon list is as 
demented as the platform game they 
inhabit. You can dispatch your ene- 
mies with the likes of a beaver on a 
spit, a candy clown lollipop, a cuck- 
oo clock and Excalibur (with rock still 
attached), to name a few. However, 
it's the "normal" weapons like 
swords, harpoons and... bunnies that 
pack the biggest wallops. When an 
enemy is delivered a combo hit, a kill 
animation pops up to show you the 
death in all its glory. So much blood 
is spilled in this game, you can actu- 
ally skate around in it. In fact, there's 
even an achievement to win if you 
can glide around in the red stuff continuously for three minutes. 

Other f'd-up achievements include killing a bunny with a carrot and 
spilling 10,000 gallons of blood. Goal fights include defeating a giant 
beaver and, as Snow White, killing seven dwarves. I hod the most fun 
with Fairytale Fights when I jumped on-line and chatted with friends as 
we made mincemeat out of Pinocchio, Hansel and Gretel, the Candy 
Witch and that stupid Little Tailor together. The art style is fittingly 
twisted, like Happy Tree Friends meets Itchy and Scratchy. The controls 
can be as slippery as the blood spilled, but for a quick hack-'n'-slash 
fix, you'll find lots to murder. ..um, kill...er, love in Fairytale Fights. 

GAME RATING: 



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frightmeister 
Ivan Zuccon 
takes his latest 
and most 
ambitious stab 
at adapting 
H.P. Lovecraft. 


By ROBERTO E. D’ONOFRIO 


The Bleeding Rainbow 


A n eerie fog permeates the Italian 
countryside as director Ivan Zuccon 
wraps up shooting on his new chiller 
Colour from the Dark (coming on DVD from 
Vanguard February 23). It’s certainly the 
most difficult experience the filmmaker 
has had since he began making movies; 
right at the beginning, two cameras 
stopped working and had to be replaced, 
bizarre accidents plagued the director’s 
cars and members of the cast required 
medical aid a few days into lensing. 

But Zuccon and his team didn’t give 
up, and the actresses lightened the ten- 
sion on location by concocting the story of 
a porno actor named Trevor, who suppos- 
edly died at the production’s farmhouse 
while making a movie and has been 
haunting the place ever since. Everybody 
has been toiling up to 12 hours a day, and 
the project was able to recover the lost 
time and complete principal photography 
as planned. 

“By now I have put together a trusted 
group of collaborators,” Zuccon says, 
“who have been with me since my previ- 

'*Ivan has a gift: He 
Knows how to 
surround himself 
with people who love 
movies.” 
-Michael Segal, 
actor 

ous films. Sound designer Antonio Masi- 
ero, my assistant Eugenia Serravalli and 
Massimo Storari, who designed the beau- 
tiful posters for Nympha and Colour from 
the Dark and did the visual effects, are 
part of my family. And of course, I can’t 
forget my irreplaceable parents: Valerio, 
my set designer, who finds and builds for 
me an5rthing I need, and Donatella, who 


Who's creepier — Alice 
(Morysio Koy) or her doll 
Rosino? 





day. Often, when Ivan uses me as a 
stand-in before shooting a scene, I feel 
nostalgic about being an actress.” 

“The Colour Out of Space” has 
already been translated to the screen in 
Daniel Haller’s 1965 AIP film Die, Mon- 
ster, Die!, with Boris Karloff starring as 
an old man horribly transformed by a 
meteorite on his land, and again by 
actor-tumed-director David Keith with 
1987's abysmal The Curse. Colour from 
the Dark retains the basic premise of a 
farm’s inhabitants infected by a wicked 
malignancy, but “we made some slight 
diversions from the original story,” 
Zuccon notes. 

“We cut the meteorite origins of the 
evil entity that haunts the farmhouse; 
here, it is accidentally released from the 
bottom of a well by Pietro [Michael 
Segal] and Alice. We also completely 
took out the scientists who arrive in 
Arkham to study the strange events 
that occur in the area. Ivo Gazzarrini 
and I wanted to stick to the stoiy’s 
horror elements and dismiss all the 
science-fiction stuff. ‘Colour Out of 
Space’ is one of the best H.P. Love- 
craft tales; it has a very linear 
structure. I also like ‘The Dunwich 
Horror’ and ‘The Shadow Over Inns- 
mouth,’ but the atmosphere and de- 
scription of the surroundings in ‘Colour 
Out of Space,’ especially the settings at 
the beginning, are unparalleled.” 

The story is set in the ’40s, during 
WWII. Pietro and Lucia (Rochon) live 
on an isolated farm with Alice, Lucia’s 


has sewed all the costumes and created 
Rosina, the doll owned by Alice [played 
by Maiysia Kay in Colour], as well as its 
ghostly version.” Valerio’s inventive- 
ness is on view today when, given the 
lack of a suitable syringe to pump fake 
blood out of a wound on actress Debbie 
Rochon’s face, he solves the issue by 
adapting an old sprayer. 

Scripted, like Zuccon’s previous 
Nympha and Bad Brains, by Ivo Gaz- 
zarrini, Colour is the director’s latest 
film based on an H.P. Lovecraft stoiy, 
specifically “The Colour Out of Space.” 


“I have been trying to make this film for 
the last three years,” Zuccon says. “We 
thought everything was fine and were 
about to begin shooting, and then a pro- 
ducer from Canada vanished and left us 
without the money needed to do the 
movie. Thanks to my friends at German 
company Arabesque Film, I was able to 
get actress Tiffany Shepis and shoot 
Nympha instead, but Colour had to be 
left on the shelf. I really didn’t believe I 
would start making another movie for 
the next two years; it’s very difficrdt to 
shoot a film without a proper budget, 
and when you also have to take on the 
job of producer, you can’t concentrate on 
the daily task of directing. 

“But then Roberta MarreUi, who ap- 
peared in Bad Brains, The Shunned 
House and The Darkness Beyond for me, 
read the script for Colour from the Dark 
and loved it,” he continues. “So she 
decided to jump in as executive pro- 
ducer with Arabesque Film, and a few 
months after completing postproduction 
on Nympha, we finally threw ourselves 
into this new project.” 

“I’m an actress, but after working 
with Ivan all these years, and having 
seen the passion that he puts into his 
films, I wanted to do something more,” 
MarreUi adds while checking the day’s 
schedule. “When I read this script, I 
decided that it was the right moment to 
move to the next step of filmmaking. It’s 
very hard, but fascinating; you have to 
confront all the technical and adminis- 
trative aspects of making a movie every 


15-year-old sister, who suffers from se- 
vere mental problems. Pietro, unlike his 
three brothers, is not at war due to a 
deformed knee, and lives by tilling the soil 
and selling fruits and vegetables in a 
nearby village. Their life is good and 
peaceful despite the hard chores — until 
one day, while drawing water from the 
well, Pietro and Alice free something 
from the Earth’s womb. A strange and 
alien color flashes under the water at the 
well’s bottom, then disappears. From that 
moment on, inexplicable events start 
occurring all around the site, as some- 
thing malevolent draws these people into 
its sick world of pain, blood and death. 

“We never say exactly where we are, 
although it’s clear the events are based in 
Italy,” Zuccon says. “I was bom here, and 
I like to set my movies in the countryside 
where I grew up.” For Colour, he has cho- 
sen as his main location a farmhouse a lit- 
tle under 20 miles outside Ferrara, where 
Italian erotic director Tinto Brass previ- 
ously shot his film Miranda. 

“We decided on this place because 
there was already a well, which is so cen- 
tral and important to our story,” Valerio 
Zuccon explains. “Unfortunately, beside it 
there was a fig tree which caused the 
walls to collapse, so we had to cut it 
down, rebuild ^e walls cuid seal the bot- 
tom in order to fill it with water.” 

As with Nympha, Zuccon and his pro- 
ducing partners cast a group of interna- 
tional actors in the lead roles, and are 
shooting the movie in EngUsh in order to 
more easily sell it abroad. “It’s an amaz- 
ing script, one of the best I have ever 
read,” says FANGORIA Radio hostess 
Rochon. “Ivan is one of the most talented 
and inspired directors I have ever worked 






% 






1 


K 



with. His composition, lighting, story- 
telling and directing style are breathtak- 
ing. When he offered me the part, I didn’t 
know much about Ivan, but people who 
knew him had great things to say, and 
convinced me to accept it. I’m grateful for 
that because, even though this is a small, 
independent production, there is an atten- 
tion to every particular and small detail 
that I have never seen before. 

“We have at least four takes for every 
single scene,” something certainly not 
always the case in low-budget horror 
flicks, Rochon notes. “In the United 
States, movies are mainly made for com- 
mercial reasons; I have worked with few 
filmmakers who make films because they 
love cinema, but Ivan and his team really 
love the genre, and you can feel it on this 
set. This is my very first time in Italy, and 
I love it. This will be a very special film.” 

“Working with Debbie is an amazing 
experience,” says Zuccon, returning the 
praise. “She is not orrly a great actress, 
but a terrific person too, and I now con- 
sider her a good friend of mine. The 
human aspect is so important to Colour, 
and that we be on the same page for the 

The Lovecraftian sickness afflicting Pietro (Michael 
Segal) has a more down-to-Earth origin this time. 

www.fangoria.com 


entire artistic process, both completely 
focused on the project, on the script, on 
the definition of her role. After this film, I 
hope to repeat the experience with her.” 

Scottish actress I^y was cast as the 
adolescent Alice even though she’s 31 
years old in reality. “I am very lucky be- 
cause I look much younger than I am,” 
she says, “and I’m often offered roles as 
teenagers. Ivan found me via a website 
called CastingCallPro.com, e-mailed me 
the screenplay and asked if I would be 
interested in playing Alice. I read it and 
said yes; it was a fantastic script.” 

Kay is joined on Colour by English 
friend Eleanor James, who plays Anna, a 
kind and good-natured peasant who lives 
near the ill-fated family with her grandfa- 
ther Giovanni (seasoned Irish actor Gerry 
Shanahan). “This is the fourth film Elean- 
or and I have acted in together,” Kay says, 
“although unfortunately, one of the previ- 
ous three was never completed. We met 
on my first film. Forest of the Damned 
[a.k.a. Demonic] with Tom Savini, where 
we played evil fallen angels. Although we 
look very different, we seem to appeal to 
the same kind of people, so we’re often 
cast on the same projects. We always get 
along well, we both paint as well as act 
and we’re both very independent. I hope 


Photos: Copyright Studio Interzona 



we’ll continue to work together.” 

"Maiysia and I have become friends 
because we always meet each other at 
auditions or on films,” adds James, who 
reveals, “It’s purely a coincidence that 
Ivan contacted both of us to be in Colour, 
out of all the other UK actresses. It’s quite 

“[Scripter] Ivo 
Gazzarrini and I 
wanted to stick to 
the story's horror 
elements and dismiss 
all the science- 
fiction stuff.” 

—Ivan Zuccon, 
director 

spooky! It was great to see her in Italy 
and catch up with her.” 

James, who will also soon be seen in 
Zombies of the Night, Braincell and the 
vampire drama Dead Cert, among others, 
is passionate about the genre. “I love hor- 
ror,” she says. “I hke European indepen- 
dent films in general, but psychological 
horror is my favorite, followed by comedy.” 

Segal and Colour co-stars Matteo Tosi 
and Alessandra Guerzoni are recurring 



What would a Eurohorror flick be without some 
spilled guts? 


Italian faces in Zuccon’s filmography. “I 
started acting for Ivan when I was very 
young,” Segal says. “I made five shorts 
with him and then we did The Darkness 
Beyond, and except for Bad Brains I have 
been in all of his pictures. He has 
improved his style movie after movie. I 


noticed the big change with Nympha: more 
budget, foreign actors, better screenplay. 
Colour from the Dark is even more profes- 
sional, with an incredible cast, an impres- 
sive set, a lot of equipment and a great 
script. Ivan has a g^t: He knows how to 
surround himself with people who love 
movies. He and his parents are terrific, 
and the crew he chooses is always polite, 
qualified and enthusiastic. On Nympha 
and Colour I found m5^elf acting in Eng- 
lish, and now I prefer that. Working with 
foreign actors has forced me to do my very 
best, going beyond what I thought were 
my limits.” 

Tosi, from Bad Brains, is cast as Don 
Mario, the local priest called by Pietro to 
attempt an exorcism on Lucia. “My char- 
acter doesn’t come to a good end, as I get 
stabbed in the eye by Debbie Rochon,” he 
says. “In order to better get into my role, 
I went to a real priest, a friend of mine, 
and asked him about the exact Latin 
phrases to perform an exorcism. The rest 
of the cast and I were thinking about 
using them for real against Ttevor, the 
ghost haunting the set,” he laughs. 

Differences between Zuccon and 
Mauro Fabriczky’s Special Make-up Stu- 
dio, which wasn’t able to supply all of the 
demanding gags required by Colour from 
the Dark, led Storari to call in Irish 
makeup artist Fiona Walsh. “I had to 
bring out aU my stuff, the prosthetics and 
fake blood, and go back to the beginning 
of my friendship with Ivan, when I created 
the makeup on his very first movies,” 
explains Storari, who also has a cameo in 
the film as a Nazi officer. “In the past five 
years. I’ve moved to visual effects, deal- 
ing with Photoshop, Maya Software and 
CGI. Thankfidly, Fiona is a great artist — I 
can say I worked as her assistant — and 
she did great stuff, especially the makeup 
on Debbie Rochon as the evil entity pos- 
sesses her. Although she’s slowly becom- 
ing a monster, Fiona was able to maintain 
a sort of humanity in her mutation.” 

For the soundtrack, Zuccon (as he did 
with Nympha) is using a few selections 
written by Richard Band, and has also 
brought in Italian composer Marco Werba, 
who recently made the leap from indie 
fcire such as Fearmakers and Darkness Sur- 
rounds Roberta to Dario Argento’s latest 
feature Giallo. It’s an appropriate choice, 
as Colour from the Dark may be Zuccon’s 
strongest bid yet to establish himself in- 
ternationally as Argento’s up-and-coming 
heir on the Italian horror scene. 

“I’m a director, and my goal is to have 
the chance to do as many movies as possi- 
ble,” Zuccon says. “But to make more 
films better and better, I have to solve the 
financing problem. I’m starting to be frus- 
trated working with the same tiny budget. 
I’m an ambitious director, and I know that 
if I want to improve, I need to find better 
budgets too. I hope Colour will have the 
right success, so I can find a way to make 
another horror film with more money, but 
with the same attitude, passion and 
for cinema.” 


love 




# 






The terror titan offers his picks of the very 
best in modern screen fear. See if you agree... 






I n the first part of this essay, I made 
a case for one 21st-century remake 
(Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead) as 
' a standout, and now we come to the best 
horror movie of the new century, Dennis 
■■ Hindis’ brilliant revisiting of The Last 
House on the Left. The engine driving this 
movie is the most powerful the genre has 
to offer: fear of the Homicidal Other. There 
have been hundreds — perhaps even thou- 
sands — of these in the long history of the 
fright film, and most have the same under- 
lying premise: You meet the Homicidal 
' Other either as karmic retribution for do- 
'' ing something wrong (think of Janet Leigh 
in Psycho, who never would have been 
showering at the Bates Motel if she had- 
' n’t embezzled a bunch of money from the 
" Phoenix business where she worked) or — 
* this is worse — because you just happen to 
be in the wrong place at the wrong time. 


By STEPHEN KING 

Part Two 

There are very few Homicidal Other 
sequels that I care for [Saw II is one of the 
few exceptions to the rule), because they 
trade on a moral cunbiguity that mcikes me 
uneasy. In A Nightmare on Elm Street, 
Freddy Krueger is flat-out evil — no ques- 
tion about it. We hate him and fear him 
from the get-go, and why not? He’s a 
pedophile, a murderer and a disfigured 
psycho from beyond the-grave. But seven 
sequels later, he has become, grotesque 
but true, a kind of pal. 

By the time Freddy vs. fason roUed 
around in 2003, we were no longer 
expected to root for the nominal good 
guys (teenagers without an ounce of fat 
on them) . What we were rooting for as the 
sequels plodded on was a high body count. 
These sequels are basically snuff movies. 


I go, hoping to see something new, and 
rarely find it. Which brings us back to the 
Iliadis version of Last House, the best hor- 
ror redux in modem times. 

The Collingwood family — Emma, John 
and daughter Mari — are on vacation at 
their lake house, which is mcirked by an 
ominously inverted sign reading LAKE 
ENDS IN THE ROAD. Mari (played with 
courage and grace by Sara Paxton) bor- 
rows the family car to go to town and visit 
her friend Paige (Martha Macisaac), who 
works in the local grocery store. While 
they’re talking, a young man n^lmed 
Justin (Spencer Treat Clark) tries to buy a 
pack of cigarettes with a bloodstained 
$20 bill. When Paige won’t sell to him — 
he has no ID — Justin offers to trade them 
some good pot, which is back at the motel 
where he’s staying with his family. 

It’s this chance meeting that leads to 



Until the 
improbable 
ending, the 
last House 
on the left 
remake 
(with Garret 
Dillahunt and 
Sara Paxton, 
left) really 
(oaks. 



> *. ■ 




Photos: Copyright Rogue 




the terrible events that follow, but it's also 
where Iliadis begins to spring the film’s 
surprises. Clark, whom some of you may 
remember as Silent Ray in Mystic River, 
gives a nuanced performance as the son of 
a homicidal maniac (Krug, played by Gar- 
ret Dillahunt). We identify his disturbing 
thousand-yard stare as the look of a dan- 
gerous psycho, but it’s actually the 
numbed-out shock of an abused child who 
is more his father’s victim than his son. 

Mari and Paige are taken captive by 
Krug, Krug’s girlfriend Sadie (Riki Lind- 
home) and his brother Francis (Aaron 
Paul, of Breaking Bad fame). After a 
botched escape attempt by the girls, 
Paige is stabbed to death, Mari is raped 
(Krug does it himself after Justin refuses 
his father’s invitation to go first and “be a 
man”) and then shot as she tries to swim 
across the lake to the house where her 
parents are awaiting her return. It’s in 
this house that Krug and his devil’s band 
seek shelter from a sudden storm — a 
coincidence, but a believable one, since 
Mari has purposely directed them toward 
it. So the Homicidal Others are given 
lodging for the night by the kindly parents 



Back when [vent Horizon first opened, you 
didn't see stuff like this too often in major- 
studio releases. 


of the very girl they have violated. 

Justin, who has taken Mari’s necklace, 
leaves it where he knows the parents will 
find it. At roughly the same time Emma 
Collingwood spots it curled around the 
base of a coffee cup, she and John hear an 
irregular banging sound coming from out- 
side. It’s Mari, badly wounded but still 
alive (in the original, she’s killed after 
being raped). She has dragged herself 
from the lake and crawled up onto the 
porch, and is pushing a rocking chair 
against the side of the house. 



The Creeper makes Stephen King yell, "Jeepers! 


f/ 



What follows is a carnival of parental 
revenge. Mom half-drowns Francis in the 
kitchen sink, then stuffs his arm down the 
garbage dispoz-aU and turns it on; Sadie 
is shot to death in the bathroom; Krug has 
his head exploded in a microwave oven 
after the outraged surgeon father has para- 
lyzed him from the neck down. This last 
touch is the film’s only false move — partly 
because it’s presented in a clumsy flash- 
back as the family crosses the lake to 
safety, partly because it’s the only place 
where Last House looks like “just another 
horror movie," and partly because — 
dammit — you can ’t run a microwave with the 
door open! 

The 2009 Last House is the most brutcd 
and uncompromising film to play Ameri- 
can movie theaters since Henry: Portrait of 
a Serial Killer (which didn’t play many; the 
MPAA initially gave it cin X rating, and it 
was finally released unrated) . The murder 
of Paige and the rape of Mari in the woods 
are particularly excruciating, because 
there’s a sense of filthy reality about 
these crimes that the depredations of 
Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees can’t 
match. There’s zero audience rooting 
going on for the bad guys here; when Maxi 


finally loses the struggle to keep her plain 
cotton underwear on and we know it’s 
really going to happen, we are filled with 
rage and sorrow (and if there’s an emotion 
more foreign to a Friday the 13th movie 
than sorrow, I don’t know what it is). Our 
identification is all with the victim. These 
are bad people, who deserve what’s com- 
ing to them. What they do not deserve is a 
sequel where they become our buddies. 

The very effectiveness of some horror 
movies — the ones that show us the Homi- 
cidal Other with all his masks thrown 
aside — dooms them when they come 
before the critics (Owen Gleiberman of 
Entertainment Weekly, a magazine I 
write for on a tri-weekly basis, gave 
Last House an F rating), and this one, 
like Michael Haneke’s jolting Ameri- 
can remake of his German film Funny 
Games, took a predictably vigorous 
pasting. Only Roger Ebert seemed to par- 
tially get it, praising the performances 
(Dillahunt, he points out, isn’t just acting 
scary; he creates a character) but neglect- 
ing to note that great performances rise 
from stories where the motivations are 
believable cind the things that happen 
have an air of inevitabilify. 






55 


Photo: Gene Pag^Copyright United Artists 


* 








The original 1972 Last House on the 
Left, written and directed by Wes Craven, 
is so bad it sinks to the level of absurdity — 
call it Abbott and Costello Meet the Rapists. 
The bad guys are cartoons, the glare 
lighting is Early American Pornography, 
Mari’s mom (in tliis version named Estelle 
and played by Cjmthia Carr) looks suspi- 
ciously like Loretta Lynn and the cops are 
a couple of bumbling stereotypes out of a 
1940s Dead End Kids comedy. The chain- 
saw climax, set in what appears to be a 
pine-paneled rumpus room (it may have 
belonged to one of the producers), is hilar- 
ious. The soundtrack is a wonder; This 
maybe the only movie about rape, murder 
and kidnapping to be set to a cheerful 
ricky-ticky public-domain score. There’s 
even a kazoo, a musical instalment I do 
not associate with terror. The one positive 
thing you can say about the original is 
that Craven must have had an extremely 
steep learning curve, because he started 


his career deep in negative territory. 

The lliadis version is to the original 
what a mature artist’s painting is to the 
drawing of a child who shows some 
gleams of talent. From the opening shot — 
a dream-glide through the nighttime 
woods — the cinematography of Sharone 
Meir is a work of beauty and a study in 
contrasts; from Krug’s bnital murder of 
the cops who were transporting him to 
prison, we jump to a serene underwater 
world where Mari floats beneath a cloud 
of silver exhaled bubbles. There is a simi- 
lar ballet — a more nerve-wracking one — 
in the kitchen of tlie Collingwood cottage 
as Mari’s motlier makes subtle, enticing 
advances toward the odious Francis, try- 
ing to get him to let his guard down 
enough for her to use a butcher knife on 
him. The analogous scene in the 1972 ver- 
sion, where Mama attempts to bite off the 
bad guy’s dingus, is just grotesque. 
Worse, it’s funny. 


I maintain that if the recent Lost House 
hadn’t come trailing the baggage of its 
infamous predecessor — and if it had been 
a foreign film that came equipped with 
subtitles — it would have been a critical 
success on the level of Repulsion. Diabo- 
lique or An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge 
(the short film by Robert Enrico that was 
telecast on CBS as a Twilight Zone epi- 
sode). To some degree. Last House suf- 
fered from its own refusal to compromise, 
and I think it also paid a price for all its 
infamous predecessors, not just the origi- 
nal source material. 

But there’s something else, too. Horror 
movies produce nerve-music rather than 
head-music. Because most critics (Ebert 
has always been an exception) tend to be 
creatures of the head rather than the 
heart, tliey can be amused (in a patroniz- 
ing sort of way) by fright flicks that are 
too outlandish to be taken seriously, but 
tliey have a tendency to react with anger 
and outrage to the ones that operate suc- 
cessfully in the deep fathoms of primal 
fear. Last House, like Hitchcock’s great 
film about the Homicidal Other, does 
exactly that. And, like the lliadis film. 
Psycho was originally greeted with a cho- 
rus of largely negative reviews. 

Sadly, not many scare-and-splatter 
films are worthy of even such light analy- 
sis as I’ve given those I’ve addressed in 
this article, but that doesn’t mean there 
aren’t others that are worth viewing (or 
re-viewing, if you’re a regular Fango 
reader). Here are some others that have 
worked for me over the last 15 years or so: 
I From Dusk Till Dawn: Robert Rod- 
S. riguez’s furious horror/action picture, 
I, starring George Clooney and Quentin 
I Tarantino. Although it was released in the 

0 mid-’90s, Clooney and Tarantino play 

1 ’70s-style bad guys who find themselves 
a hiding out in a strip club populated by 


King sez Shaun 
of the Dead 
has moments 
that made the 
laughter die in 
his throat. 












1408 (with 
John Cusack) 
must he 
pretty darn 
scary if it 
frightens its 
source author. 




Photo: Copyright Dimension 


Photo; Copyright Dimension 




vampires. Tuiilight looks pretty thin com- 
pared to this. 

Scream: A knowing, funny/frightening 
sendup of the slasher genre, featuring a 
psycho in an Edvard Munch “The Scream” 
mask. Written by Kevin Williamson, 
Scream alternates laughs with authentic 
scares. Especially notable for the When a 
Stranger Calls riff that opens the movie. 
Not Drew Barrymore’s finest hour, but 
certainly her finest horror hour. 

Mimic: Guillermo del Toro’s first Ameri- 

The very 
effectiveness of 
some horror 
movies dooms 
them when they 
come "before the 
critics. 

can film, and a work of brilliance and com- 
plexity. It plays on our fear of dark places, 
environmental mutation, science out of 
control... and killer insects that can look 
like people. Perversely believable, with 
great FX and great performances by 
Charles S. Dutton and Mira Sorvino. 

Event Horizon: Basiccdly a Lovecraft- 
ian terror tale in outer space with a Creep- 
ing Unknown vibe, done by the Brits. The 
plot’s messy, but the visuals are stunning 
and there’s an authentic sense of horrors 
too great to comprehend just beyond the 
eponymous (I always knew I’d eventually 
get to use that word) event horizon. 



stuff 
of the 
freakiest 


Photo: Copyright Picturehouso 


Pi: Made on a shoestring by director 
Darren Aronofsky, this film about a theo 
retical mathematician descending into 
madness (he thinks he has found a 
digit number that can somehow make him 
a fortune on the stock market) is a clear 
precursor of The Blair Witch Project. I left 
the theater not entirely sure of what I’d 
seen, but filled with feelings of deep 
unease. This one gets inside you. 

Bride of Chucky: Naah! Just kidding! 

Deep Blue Sea: Directed by the 
popular Renny Harlin, who could probably 
turn Heidi into an action flick (“Give up 
the secret formula or the goat dies!”) , this 
movie about genetically engineered 
sharks, you could say, isn’t up to very 
much. . .until, at the most unexpected 
point of the film, one of the 
makes rears up and bites Samuel L. 
Jackson in half! Yessss! I screamed out 
loud, and I treasure any horror movie 
that can make me do that. 

Stir of Echoes: Writer/director David 
Koepp should be declared a national 
treasure. His adaptation of Richard 
Matheson’s 1958 novel is an unset- 
tling exploration of what happens 
when an ordinary blue-collar guy 
(Kevin Bacon) starts to see ghosts, 
thanks to a hypnotic suggestion. 

Final Destination: I love all 
these movies, with their elabo- 
rate Rube Goldberg setups — it’s 
like watching R-rated splatter 
versions of those old Road Run- 
ner cartoons — ^but only the first 
is genuinely scary, with its grim 
insistence that you can’t beat 
the Re^er; when your time is 







Despite his 
sickly appearance. 
Jigsaw was still a 
fresh source for 
horror in the 
first coSple of 
Saw flicks. 





58 


up, it’s up. 

Jeepers Creepers: Victor Salva is a trou- 
bling, erratic director with a troubling, 
erratic history — including a conviction for 
sexual molestation of a child — ^but this 
tightly focused film about a brother and 
sister who run across a supernatural ser- 
ial killer in northern Florida is relent- 
lessly terrifying, plapng as it does on our 
feelings of claustrophobia (the pipe scene 
is pure genius). If you haven’t seen it, 
watch it. If you have, watch it again. But 
steer clear of the teenage-Spam-in-a-bus 
sequel. It’s for shit. 

The Mothman Prophecies: Richard Gere 
adds weight and unease to this 
story of a reporter trying to recover 
r from the loss of his v^e (and trying 
^ to understand the strange drawings 
she made shortly before the tumor 
' in her brain killed her). He is drawn to 
a West Virginia town where all sorts of 
strange phenomena have been reported, 
including sightings of an otherworldly 
being called the Mothman. Good scary 
movies sometimes work on us like those 
ominous dreams from which we wake just 
before they can plunge us into full-out 
nightmares. Gere’s character never actu- 


ally meets the Mothman, which isn’t such 
a bad thing; he — or it — is scarier in the 
shadows. This movie re min ded me of Val 
(Cat People) Lewton’s best work. 

Eight Legged Freaks: Not really so 
scary, but great fun. Giant spiders that 
run fast and kiU everyone they can. The 
actors look like they’re having as much 
fun as the audience. Probably should have 
been titled It Came from the Drive-In. 

28 Days Later: A furious (and some- 
times infuriating) zombie film, shot on 
digital video in hey-look-at-me style by 
Danny Boyle, most notable for its opening 
sequences in an eerily deserted London 
after clueless animal rights activists have 
loosed a living-dead-type plague on the 
world. In its documentary feel, we can 
again see the influence oi Blair Witch. 

Shaun of the Dead: I know it’s a send- 
up, but this Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright 
gi^lefest has a few genuinely frightening 
moments (a few good gross-outs, too). 
The best sequence combines humor and 
horror in a pleasantly disgusting souffle 
as Shaun fails to notice the zombie upris- 
ing that has begun to happen aU around 
him. We see it, but poor Shaun just keeps 
missing the guy who gets bitten while he’s 


mowing his lawn, etc., etc. 

Red Lights (Feux Rouges): In this 
French import, an alcoholic husband (Jean- 
Pierre Darroussin) and his long-suffering 
wife (Carole Bouquet) have a fight and 
split up while driving back from the sum- 
mer camp where they left their kids. What 
follows on a darkened coxmtry road is a 
kind of double horror movie, as fascinat- 
ing to watch as Spielberg’s Duel. 

Saw: You know about this, but watch it 
again and you’U see that it also works as 
a superior mystery story. The same is true 
of Saw II. 

The 2009 Last 
House is the most 
“brutal and 
uncompromising 
film to play 
American movie 
theaters since 
Henry: Portrait of 
a Serial Killer* 

The facket: Adrien Brody is terrific 
(those long-suffering eyes!) in this story 
of a war veteran who becomes the subject 
of a mad doctor’s experiments. He’s 
locked in a morgue drawer and catapulted 
g, 15 years into the future. This movie has a 
§ remarkable, chilly intensity and a sense 
5 of impending tragedy. 

!> Pan’s Labyrinth: OfeUa’s harsh reality 
I (the Spanish Civil War) and her retreat 
“ into a fantasy world populated by fauns 
I and monsters are perfectly blended in del 
“■ Toro’s exceptional movie. Once you see it, 
you never forget the pale, eyeless crea- 
ture (every kid’s nightmare) that almost 
catches OfeUa and eats her before she’s 
able to escape back — for a while, any- 
way — into the reed world. 

The Descent: If I were to pick another 
movie to analyze closely, it would be this 
remarkable story of six women who go on 
a caving expedition and encounter a race 
of subhumans (who resemble del Toro’s 
Pale Man, now that I think about it). 
What gives the movie its resonance is how 
the women play against each other — their 
very real resentments (and secrets) allow 
us to believe the monsters in a way that 
most horror movies do not. I never tire of 
saying this: In successful creepshows, it’s 
not the FX, and mostly not even the mon- 
sters, that scare us. If we invest in the 
people, we invest in the movie. . .and in our 
own essential decency. 

Snakes on a Plane: Just my opinion, but 
if you didn’t love this movie, what the hell 
are you doing reading this? 

The Hitcher (2007): Rutger Hauer in 
the original will never be topped, but this 
is that rarity, a reimagining that actually 
works. And Sean Bean is great in the role 
Hauer originated. Do we really need this 


film? No. But it’s great to have it, and the 
existential theme of many great horror 
films — terrible things can happen to good 
people, and at any time — ^has never been 
so clearly stated. 

1408: John Cusack gives a bravura 
performance as a cynical debunker of the 
supernatural who discovers there really is 
an invisible world out there, one full of 
horrors beyond imagining. As a one-man 
depiction of madness, it stands alone. And 
Room 1408 in the fictional Dolphin Hotel 
is scarier than all the rooms of Stanley 
Kubrick’s Overlook put together. In over- 
looking Cusack’s performance, the Acade- 
my of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 
once more proved that great work is 
almost never rewctrded if it’s done in a 
horror movie. Kathy Bates in Misery is the 
exception that proves the rule. 

The Mist: The ending will tear yonr 
heart out... but so will life, in the end. 
Frank Darabont’s vision of hell is com- 
pletely uncompromising. If you want 
sweet, the Hollywood establishment will 
be pleased to serve you at the cineplex, 
believe me, but if you want something that 
feels retd, come here. Dcirabont could 
have made a higher-budget film if he’d 
added a cheerful “It’s all OK, kiddies” 
ending, but he refused. His integrity and 
courage shine in every scene. 

Funny Games: Already discussed, but 
if you love the genre and haven’t seen 
this, you should — for the simple reason 


that it turns the genre on its head. When 
things don’t go according to the psycho 
bad guys’ plans, one of them just... well, 
see for yourself. Suffice it to say that it 
outrages the rules of reality, and that’s 
always a good thing. 

The Ruins: The Scott Smith-scripted 
adaptation of his novel isn’t quite as 
creepy as the book, but the sense of dis- 
may and disquiet grows as the viewer 
begins to sense that no one’s going to get 
away. With its cast of mostly unknowns, 
this would play well on a double Hcil- 
loween bill with Snyder's Dawn remake. 

The Strangers: An orchestration of 
growing disquiet and horror as a young 
couple (Liv lyier and Scott Speedman) 
are set upon by a trio of masked psy- a 
chotics. It starts slowly and builds from S’ 
unease to terror to horror. In the same £ 
class as Jeepers Creepers, but a little more s 
existential: Why is . this happening? Just ^ 
because it is. Like cancer, stroke or some- g 
one going the wrong way on the turnpike o 
at 110 miles an hour. | 

These may not be your favorites, be- 
cause none of us have quite the same fear 
receptors. What I’m ti^g to say-^and to 
show by example — ^is that cinematic hor- 
ror is a potent art form, and there’s a lot 
more going on nnder the surface than 
immediately meets the eye. Therein lies 
its many dark pleasures. And the next 
time your pauents or your significcmt other 
ask you why you want to go tmd see that 



Juno (Natalie Mendoza) won't hove the upper 
hand on that Descent Crawler for long. 

crap, tell them this: Stephen King sent 
me. He told me to look for the good ones, 
because they’re the ones that speak to 
what’s good in the human heart. 

And, of course, to what isn’t. Because 
those are the things you have to look 


out for. 




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WITHOUT END, 




amen!” 

— Cody Goodfellow, author 
OF Radiant Dawn 


“Giangregorio's 

WRITING IS LIKE 


A LIGHTNING 


STRIKE TO THE 
HEAD. Intensely ^ 


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— A.P. Fuchs, 

AUTHOR OF Blood of the Dead 


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Aussie FX 

wizard 

Steve Boyle 

scores his 

biggest, 

bloodiest 

splash 

with the 

futuristic 

vampire 

saga. 


s the \ 

Spierig \ -» ' 

Brothers’ \ \ 

Daybreakers rolls ' • ’ ^ 

out across the \ 

planet this winter, ^ 

Fango catches up x 

with its principal ' 

creature designer \ 

and makeup FX * 

supervisor Steve 
Boyle as he’s view- 
ing the special fea- v, 

tures on a DVD of The ' , ' 

Howling. It was just over 
five years ago, while being 
interviewed about the Spierigs’ 
debut feature Undead (see Fango 
#244), that the Australian artist 
claimed the Joe Dante film as one of 
his all-time favorites, so it’s good to 
see consistency in his words. It’s 
also gratifying to watch him ascend 
up the budgetary scale with Day- 
breakers, one of two high-profile fea- 
tures he has coming this year; the 
other is Under the Mountain, the 
decidedly PG-level follow-up to 
Black Sheep by New Zealand 
filmmaker Jonathan King. 

Boyle is in a happy place 
while speaking with us: Not only 
' has he begun work on a 

, project that may lead to his ^ 

>> ^ debut as a director, but in 
J V September 2009, he s 

had the rare plea- 

sure of witness- ^ - 

ing the premieres 


' MICHAEL HELMS 


Thanks to 
the Spierig 
, Brothers, . 
/y ortist Steve 
Boyle 
(pictured) 
hos enjoyed 
plenty of 
^ ^ eitljerienfs 



Photos: Courtesy Steve Boyle 


mentioned features at the Toronto Film 
Festival, an event from which he’s obvi- 
ously still buzzing. “I usually play catch- 
up with the films I’m involved in,” he 
admits, “but to actually view Under the 
Mountain and Daybreakers with audiences 
was a whole new experience. No matter 
how many times you’ve seen a movie, you 
just haven’t seen it properly until you’ve 
seen it with a crowd. People jumped and 


exactly. It was just the perfect makeup.” 

Boyle also aimed to do something dif- 
ferent when it came to the creatures’ feed- 
ing habits; no discreet pair of fang holes in 
the neck here. “We made the vampire 
bites quite nasty,” he notes, “and the Sub- 
siders get high off themselves in despera- 
tion. A character has his finger removed, 
and we developed various finger types 
from different substances to show marrow 


I f 

“My favorite part of the process is problem-solving, 
and most of that comes when you’re building 
everything.” 


laughed in aU the right places. It was fan- 
tastic. It felt really good.” 

Likewise, Boyle’s own reaction to Day- 
breakers was acutely positive. “It’s a kick- 
arse modern-day vampire film,” he says. 
“You try not to get too attached to the 
things you work on, but I’m just so proud 
of those two movies. Daybreakers is the 
film we set out to make. Everyone involved 
believes that. The Spierigs believe it, the 
cast believes it: It was the best version of 
the script that was shot. It looks the way 
it should look. It doesn’t feel in any way 
like anything was compromised. You 
never have enough time, you never have 
enough money, but you look at Daybreak- 
ers and think that no one would ever 
believe we struggled the way we did.” 

Back on the Daybreakers set in 2007, 
Fango was privy to watching Boyle at 
work as he imparted an understanding of 
that struggle (see our report last issue). 
In late 2009, he still sounds almost over- 
whelmed. One particular challenge was 
the physical preparation of the Subsid- 
ers — ^vampires that have devolved into bat- 
like creatures due to lack of sustenance. 

“The application for each of those took 
six hours, which was actually pretty 
good,” the artist recalls. “The &st Sub- 
sider we did for the kitchen sequence, 
where he walks in completely naked — 
with a harness built into him so he could 
swing upside down and do all this stuff — 
was 10 hours. I’ve never tackled a make- 
up that big before. I remember telling 
Richard Taylor at Weta that I could prob- 
ably do it in that time, and he thought I 
was being very optimistic. But it works. 
There’s just no way of getting around the 
long application times. It’s not like there’s 
a zip up the back — although there were 
two suits — but for the most part, they 
were really glued into it. 

“That kitchen Subsider produced some 
of my favorite moments in Daybreakers, 
because I’ve never done an 3 rthing that 
complicated before,” he continues. “De- 
sign-wise, there’s nothing I’d change. He 
lived up to my expectations and he was 
only on for two days, so it wasn’t like 
seven days where we had to match him 


in the bone, just to get the right reaction.” 

Wonying about the consistency of 
bone marrow in a single digit might be 
keeping him busy recently, but Boyle got 
into the business via the well-traveled 
route of practice, persistence and offering 
to work for free, creating larger body 
parts. “The first biggish thing I did was 
for a television production called Day of 
the Roses, a real-life train-disaster dra- 
ma,” he recalls. “It was a last-minute 
thing. Apparently, their makeup effects 
hadn’t happened, and the supervisor 
needed all these prop arms and legs. I 
said, ‘Well, I’ll do them.’ She said, ‘Well, 
there’s no money.’ ‘That’s OK. I’ll just 
make them for the experience.’ My then- 
girlfriend and best friend came over, and 
we made these limbs in a weekend. We 
had to do around 80.” 

Another early job for Boyle was a docu- 
mentary backed by government funding 
called Escape from the Planet of the Tapes. 
The subject was Trash Video, the infa- 
mous Brisbane video shop owned by film- 
culture maven Andrew Leavold (whose 
contributions to Filipino cinema have 
recently provided the basis for Not Quite 
Hollywood director Mark Hartley’s new 
documentary ikfacftefe Maidens Unleashed] . 

“We had to do some small makeups,” 
Boyle says of this project. “There was one 
guy who had no eyes; his face was a blank. 
It was like all these minimovies introdu- 
cing the vintage-cinema element — little 
shots of makeup effects. Really subtle 
stuff. It was p-eat.” 

After joining the Spierigs for the sec- 
ond and third episodes in their early tril- 
ogy of zombie shorts, Boyle went on to the 
Aussie-lensed Dark Castle production 
Ghost Ship and crew gigs on the mega- 
movies Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of 
the Clones and The Matrix Revolutions. He 
then crafted the zombies, extraterrestri- 
als and grue for Undead — ^which in turn 
landed him a far more epic assignment. 

'"King Kong was pretty big,” he laughs. 
“It was my first job at Weta. I met Richard 
Taylor in Australia; he had really enjoyed 
what I did for Undead, particularly the 
alien at the end. He invited Samantha 



Daybreakers show 
their age more 
than others. 


If this is what's 
living Under the 
Mountain, who'd 
argue that it 
should stay there? 





Will we see a Bad 
Moon Risingl We 
will if the in- 
development 
project mokes it to 
the screen. 


[Lyttle] and I over for Kong. We were 
mainly responsible for the Skull Island 
natives, under the art direction of Gino 
Acevedo. It was just great, a fantastic 
film, because it was really massive. I 
remember some of the crazy, long nights, 
turning all these people into natives — 
putting bones through their noses and 
lips — and how cold it was at night. We 
just couldn’t get warm, and these actors 
were out there, naked except for just 
something covering their private parts 
and holding their speeirs. We were putting 
paint on them, and their bodies erupted in 
goosebumps.” 

At Weta, Boyle got his first taste of 
bloodsucker fare as part of the 30 Days of 
Night makeup FX team. “That was a really 
important movie for me,” he says, “be- 
cause my main job was coming up with 
the vampire dentures. They wanted to go 
with something close to the comic, those 
very sharp teeth. It was great to be able to 
create so many different looks. I wasn’t 
on set for that stuff; it was basically just 
manufacturing and designing the den- 
tures, as weU as some of the wounds and 
decapitations. That was a hardcore blood- 
and-guts comic-book movie. Then it was 
straight on to Daybreakers after that. I 



only go on set when I really need to, Uke 
on Daybreakers-, my favorite part of the pro- 
cess is problem-solving, aijd most of that 
comes when you’re building everything. 

“Weta was a fantastic place to work,” 
Boyle continues. “I was there for two and 
a half years, and Richard has always been 
extremely supportive of an3d:hing I’ve 
done. The people there are great, and the 
excellent thing is that I could collaborate 
with friends there, and then come back 
and continue the workload with my 
friends here. Weta was a fantastic experi- 
ence; I just learned so much there.” 



That facility's ample prop and material 
holdings came to the urgent assistance of 
Daybreakers when time ran out to cast the 
cranium of one of the main actors. Who 
else but Weta would just happen to have a 
spare head cast of the actor rolling aroimd 
in storage? Boyle observes that the look of 
Daybreakers' victims came about via specif- 
ic instructions from its writer/directors. 

“The Spierigs wanted all the decapi- 
tated heads to seem as if they were scared 
to death and drained of blood,” Boyle 
explains. “And the vampires had to be 
made to look like they were forced to 
evolve, and emaciated. Evolution through 
severe sickness. During the sculpt, the 
Spierigs told the meikeup crew not to look 
at other vampire movies, because the 
creatures needed to be scary but pitiful. 
The look was influenced by photos of pris- 
oners of war, and achieved mainly with 
foam latex prosthetics. 

“After Daybreakers," he continues, “I 
was so burned out, I can’t begin to de- 
scribe it. We just didn’t know what we 
were going to do; we thought we were 
going to take a break. Then we got a 
phone call from Richard, saying, T have a 
job you might be quite interested in. ’ I had 
collaborated with Jonathan on Black 

Samantha Lyttle (pictured) has 
made faces alongside Boyle on a 
number of features. 



Sheep, and Richard sent some designs 
that Weta had done for Under the Moun- 
tain. It was so exciting and cool-creepy, so 
Sam and I jumped on a plane and started 
on that straight away. I was thinking, ‘Are 
we ready for this? Have we had enough of 
a break?’ But when you really love some- 
thing and someone gives you the opportu- 
nity to do it, it’s rejuvenating.” 

Under the Mountain, based on the book 
by Maurice Gee, is about teenaged twins 
(played by newcomers Tom Cameron and 
Sophie McBride) who are sent to stay at 
their aunt, uncle and cousins’ home after 



the death of their mother. There they hear 
legends about a strange family called the 
Wilberforce, and when they make the 
acquaintance of one Mr. Jones (Sam NeOl, 
another Daybreakers alumnus), they be- 
come embroiled with evil creatures dwell- 
ing beneath the nearby volcanoes. 

“I actually compare Daybreakers and 
Under the Mountain quite a bit,” says 
Boyle. “The reason is that they’re the two 
most successful working relationships 
I’ve ever had with directors and produc- 
ers. Jonathan, Matt [The Tattooist] Grain- 
ger, who was a writer/producer, Samantha 
and myself really saw eye-to-eye on a lot 
of this stuff. When one of us got excited 
about something, everyone else would get 
excited too. It was such a nice way to 
work. That makes all the difference, 
when you have a good time with the peo- 
ple you’re teamed with. You don’t get 
that everywhere. 

“To have two jobs like that in a row 
was amazing. I was running around like 
an absolute maniac [laughs]. The funny 
thing is, I remember thinking on Day- 
breakers, ‘Man, we’ve just got to get over 
this bump here, and then it’s all going to 
be smooth sailing.’ And then more and 
more things were thrown in, and by the 


end it was, ‘OK, there’s just one more,’ 
and that was like the second-to-last day 
before we wrapped. Crazy! It was massive 
every day on Daybreakers." 

And yet, he adds, "Under the Mountain 
was, by far, one of the biggest shows 
we’ve done in terms of the scope, the 
amount of work that needed to be built. It 
was one of those dream jobs because we 
had full makeup effects, creature suits, 
animatronics and miniatures. Jonathan 
said he wanted the man-in-a-suit ap- 
proach, so that was great. When you get 
an opportunity like that, you put 110 per- 
cent in because it might be the last time. 
It was one of the most rewarding projects 
I’ve ever done.” 

Although Under the Mountain is aimed 
at young audiences, “You would never 
know by looking at the images and the 
stuff we built,” Boyle says. “We used 
slime like we used blood in Daybreakers, 
and we went through so much of it. It was 
challenging, because the Wilberforce are 
aliens who can replicate the look of peo- 
ple, but even in their simplest human form 
they’d have dentures that were filed down 
and black contact lenses; they’d be not 
quite right, and appear very awkward. 
Then, as the movie progresses, we see 






hnal 


more and more of their true appearances 
as they start to break down. We go into 
heavy prosthetics and much more ad- 
vanced lenses and dentures. The aliens 
cilso imitate our clothing, so when they 
break apart, it doesn’t just involve their 
facial prosthetics; their bodies and their 
clothes and everything come apart into 
this mass of tentacles." 

However elaborate the mon- 
sters became, however. King want- 
ed aU the FX to be done physicciUy, 
and Boyle says that CGI was never 
seriously considered. “Even for the 
[ creature, which is all tentacles. I 
sculpted the head, some of the guys at 
Weta sculpted the body cind Samantha put 
it together and fabricated it with me. It 
was meant to resemble a mass of tenta- 
cles wrapping around each other, almost 
like eels. That was all practical: anima- 
tronics for the face, cable-controlled ten- 
tacles for the arms. There were one or two 


digital shots for the transition when we 
pushed the human as far as we could, and 
there might be a shot of the transition 
that’s CG as well.” 


where it was all practical, was so reward- 
ing. And it wasn’t just one character — it 
was all the bad guys. We got to do the 
makeups on a bunch of different people.” 

Boyle says that he and his team cre- 
ated seven Wilberforce “drones,” as 
they’re known, and adds, “Jonathan 
wanted Mr. Wilberforce, the main villain, 
to be this very old, decrepit guy. We got 
actor Oliver Driver [who dso appeared in 
Black Sheep], did a Ml cast of him and, 
with the contact lenses and teeth, turned 
him into a 90-year-old, completely cov- 
ered in silicone prosthetics every day. He 
looks that way to start, whereas the other 
actors began with their normal faces — 
just eyes and teeth in stage one — and 
then he had an addition 2 il four stages 
where he starts to break down.” 

Director King, Boyle laughs, was “very 
hands-on” during the Under the Mountain 
shoot. “He would apply the slime, because 
it had to drip the right way. There’s not a 
drop of blood in Under the Mountain, and 
that’s because it doesn’t need it. There’s 
so much slime, aliens, creatures, dis- 
torted images seen in the dark — ^you just 
don’t need blood.” 

Clearly, Boyle and King got along well 
on this gig, since the artist is currently 
preparing to lens a short, based on his 
own concept, in league with King’s pro- 
duction company. “Jonathan and I had 
been talking about a project for a little 
while,” Boyle says. “After Under the Moun- 
tain, I pitched an idea that he loved; I then 
wrote it up, and we’re looking at making 
it soon. He’s going to produce and I’ll be 
writing and directing. It’s just a short, but 
hopefully we’ll be able to turn it into 
something bigger, because we have a lot 
of faith in it. It’s a cool and original idea.” 
Hesitant to divulge further details, he 
simply offers, “There’s some nasty stuff in 
it. It’s not Love Actually 2 [laughs].” 

Boyle has always possessed the desire 
to write and direct his own projects, even 
as he continues to ply his regular trade. 
‘T’U always do special makeup to some 
degree, whether it’s just designing or 
more, but like anyone doing this sort of 
thing, I want to keep evolving creatively 
in the ways that allow me to have the 
broadest canvas. Effects are really fun. 


“The Spierigs told the makeup crew not to look at 
other vampire movies, because the creatures needed 
to be scary but pitiful.” 


The emphasis on creating Under the 
Mountain's creatures without the assis- 
tance of computers was a relief for Boyle, 
who notes, “It’s getting kind of scary, be- 
cause the younger filmmakers coming up 
are trained in digital methods, so they 
don’t really know there’s a practical op- 
tion. Going through a process like this. 


but there’s still that element of it being 
hard to do something against your better 
judgment if someone wants to go about it 
a certain way. What I enjoy about writing 
is coming up with cind creating things in 
the context I want them to be seen in. 
With that and directing, you have much 
more creative control.” 


www.fangoria.com 






Yet Boyle adds that his heart will al- 
ways remain at least partially in the spe- 
cial-FX realm. “It’s one of those careers 
that’s in your heart when you’re a kid,” he 
says. “You’re inspired by so many differ- 
ent artists, so many idols, the work they 
do or the different types of people they are 
or the experiences they’ve had. I consider 
myself lucky, because with all the effort I 
had to put in and what it has taken to get 
where I am. I’ve had the opportunity to 
meet all those guys and befriend them and 
exchange stones. I’ve gotten to do the 
sorts of films I never thought I’d get to, 
and actually make the kinds of movies 
that inspired me to get into this field 
when I was young. I hope this never 
changes. It brings great satisfaction.” 

Boyle also hopes to reteam with the 
Spierigs, especially on a potential were- 
wolf movie. “They’re working on their 
next project,” he reveals. “There are a 
couple of different ideas they’re consider- 
ing and they’ve shown me a few things, 
but which one will happen first, I don’t 
know. Whatever happens, it’s going to be 
great. All their projects are fantasy-ori- 
ented and very visual effects-heavy, and 
I’m really looMng forward to it.” 

Yet a different name comes up when 
Boyle is asked to cite his career highlight. 
“I’d have to say meeting Christopher Lee 
on Star Wars," he says. “I pray I don’t get 
Alzheimer’s, because I’ll want to remem- 
ber that always. One day, I was playing 



Test 

makeups 
like this 


this creature in full prosthetics with a 
horn growing out of my head, contact 
lenses and teeth, and they weren’t ready 
for me to go out on set. I was sitting in the 
green room with Christopher Lee, who 


was also waiting to go on, and all we were 
talking about was Vincent Price while 
watching The Simpsons. Two hours vrtth 
Christopher Lee watching The Simpsons. 
No matter what happens, I have that.” 







..•■nlTt 




shots and what appear to be 
slightly overcropped frame 
grabs — are collected in a gallery, 
and the supplemental package 
also contains one of the best-laid- 
out storyboard/scene compar- 
isons I've seen on a genre DVD. 

CYCLOPS RATING; 

— Michael Gingold 

T hose in the mood for a 
throwback to '80s splatter 
will find much to cherish in 
BLOOD NIGHT: THE LEG- 
END OF MARY HATCHET 
(Chaos Squared), writer/direc- 
tor/producer Frank Sabatella's 
loving tribute to raucous Reagan- 
era slasher flicks. When a group 
of oversexed friends (including 
Danielle Harris and Nate Dushku) 
decide to celebrate a local holiday 
that commemorates the violent 
death of a buxom mental patient, 
they dig up more than they can 
chew when guests of their annual 
party start dropping dead. Blood 
N/'g/it carries no pretensions 
about what it is, and delivers a 
fun and (literally) haunting ride 
that keeps the viewer guessing 
throughout. While the lengthy, 
bloodless house party lags at 
times, everything leading up to 
and following the soiree is a joy- 
ous exercise in playful, gruesome 
excess. Geysers of blood splash 
across the screen, female nudity is 
ample and once the slaughter gets 


underway, it never lets up. 

The two-disc limited edition (ex- 
clusively at www.bloodnightmovie. 
com) is encased in striking pack- 
aging that echoes the film's 
equally eye-catching opening 
credits. The first disc (also avail- 
able on its own at Amazon.com) 
contains the feature, an informa- 
tive 1 9-minute making-of, a short 
outtake reel, two trailers and a 
Sabatella commentary. The film- 
maker sheds plenty of light on the 
film's creation here — and, unlike 
most one-man tracks, avoids 
becoming tedious as he digs into 
the details of shooting in an aban- 
doned asylum, working with Har- 
ris and Bill Moseley (who plays a 
cantankerous cemetery caretaker) 
and the ups and downs of first- 
time moviemaking. Tucked next to 
a sealed envelope containing a 
number of grisly "evidence pho- 
tos" is a somewhat underwhelm- 
ing second disc, which contains a 
seven-minute "mini behind-the- 
scenes" and a handful of extended 
cast-and-crew interviews averag- 
ing between two and five minutes 
each. While featurettes focusing 
exclusively on the film's superb 
score, location and FX would have 
been welcome, the movie and 
packaging are certainly worth the 
price of this beautiful-lcxsking edi- 
tion. Blood Night itself is a truly 
entertaining independent feature 
that, as Sabatella notes, embodies 
the disgusting-but-amusing men- 
tality of all great slashers. 

CYCLOPS RATING: @@@ 

— Ted Geoghegan 

V AMPIRE KILLERS 

(Weinstein Co. /Vivendi), 
a handsomely photo- 
graphed, playful riff on Hammer 
horror/exploitation films, was for- 
merly called Lesbian Vampire 
Killers, since most of its cast is 
composed of buxom, felicitous 
British lovelies in skimpy ward- 
robe — but the title is a bit of a 
tease. A CGI-laden, wonderfully 
portentous opening, set during a 


about seven coeds haunted by 
guilt, and a mysterious murderer, 
after accidentally killing their 
housemother resulted from a rather 
troubled shoot. The crew wound 
up staging a mutiny over bounced 
checks, and the production didn't 
even have dailies for its second 
half! There are few issues with the 
DVD's 1 .85:1 image, however, an 
improvement on the one seen on 
Elite's previous bare-bones disc, 
carrying fine detail and colors, 
backed by Dolby Digital 5.1 audio 
that enhances Richard Band's 
excellent, old-fashioned score. 

For a three-hander, the com- 
mentary has a number of gaps of 
silence, but Rosman and 
the actresses do share a de- 
cent amount of entertaining 
recollections of the filming, 
which took place almost 
entirely at night on a real 
house location. Assorted postpro- 
duction alterations ore covered as 
well, including the original, more 
nihilistic ending, which is addi- 
tionally represented on the disc by 
a few stills backed by Rosman's 
explanations. More photos — a 
good amount of behind-the-scenes 


"We got our money's worth!" the 
vampires lay siege upon our 
heroes, with laugh-inducing car- 
nage 6 la Peter Jackson, Sam 
Raimi and Edgar Wright: White, 
pus-like goo spills from the vam- 
pire wounds instead of blood. 
While capably executed, to be 
sure, the neverending lightweight 
banter and cartoonish violence is 
too often reminiscent of other, bet- 
ter movies we've seen in recent 
years, and the promise of nubile 
vampires and victims is more of a 
marketing ploy, since it's all han- 
dled with relatively good taste — 
which, when you think about it, is 
the kiss of death for a movie 


T he opposite book- 
end to the original 
slice-and-dice 
trend from Silent 
Scream, 1 983's THE 
HOUSE ON SOR- 
ORITY ROW (Libera- 
tion) is an equally 
above-average entry, 
with a more motivated 
plot and stylish visuals 
than the norm, courtesy 
of writer/director Mark 
Rosman. But, as re- 
vealed on a commen- 
tary by Rosman and 
stars Kathryn McNeil and Eileen 
Davidson, this atmospheric chiller 


vague semblance of the 
Middle Ages, estab- 
lishes the premise that a 
village's females have 
been cursed to trans- 
form into the bloodsuck- 
ing undead in their late 
teenage years (as well 
as some nonsense about 
a magical sword called 
Dialdo — yes, you get 
the joke — which a cho- 
sen one will someday 
return to wield). We 
then settle into a cheeky 
narrative about two 
Shaun of the Dead-style young 
slackers (Mathew Horne and 
James Corden) who take the 
proverbial wrong turn on the 
moors and land in a backwoods 
cabin along with a gaggle of 
bubbleheaded girls. These include 
two lesbians and one virgin, all 
introduced singing aloud to a 
peppy song entitled "Tm More 
Fun When I'm Naked." 

After a bare minimum of flirta- 
tion, one of the girls takes a 
shower and two of the others go 
down to the lake for a makeout 
session, and before you can say. 



f THE MONTH 


O ne of the 
first and 
most suc- 
cessful posi-Hallo- 
ween slasher films, 
] 980's SILENT 
SCREAM (Scor- 
pian) actually be- 

g an production 
efore the Carpen- 
ter classic, and 
represents a 
bridge between 
the modern-Gothic 
horrors of the '60s 
and '70s and the 
early-'80s youth- 
stalkers. Just what 
took it so long to 
hit theaters is recaunted in great detail 
through the multiple supplements on this fine 
disc. After watching the film itself, a nicely 
tense and twisty affair with noteworthy turns 
by heroine Rebecca Balding and mutely de- 
ranged Barbara Steele (and given a sharp, 
highly pleasing 1 .78:1 transfer), viewers are 
advised to first go to the lengthy Scream of 
Success: 30 Years Later featurette. Here, 
writer/producers Jim and Ken Wheat, joined 
by Balding, recall in detail how they came 


aboard the project after it had wrapped — 
and wound up overseeing reshoots that 
replaced all but 1 2 minutes of the previously 
lensed footage. 

Next, give the commentary by the Wheats 
and Balding a listen, as they share plenty 
more production tidbits and anecdotes not 
covered in Scream of Success. In these two, 
as well as the shorter Silent Scream: The 
Original Script, we learn plenty about the dif- 
ferences between the film that resulted and its 
original, more exploitative incarnation (which 
showcased multiple rapes and a caricatured 
gay man played by "Unknown Comic" Mur- 
ray Langston!). Only quibble: None of the 
discarded footage, beyond a couple of very 
brief snippets, is on view here. A lengthy 
audio chat with director Denny Harris (con- 
ducted just before his death in 2007) sheds 
further light on his and Silent Scream's back- 
ground, and as fun bonuses. Balding and the 
Wheats address their other genre credits in 
separate interviews. The former reveals that 
she left the business after marrying her 
Boogens director, while the latter disclose that 
Riddick, the Vin Diesel role in their Pitch Black 
script, was initially written as a woman! 

CYCLOPS RATING; 

— Michael Gingold 


i 



about lesbian bloodsuckers. (No 
special features) 

CYCLOPS RATING: 


— Jeremiah Kipp 

B oasting Flight of the Con- 
chords alumni in its cost, 
you'd think DIAGNOSIS: 
DEATH (Lightning) would be 
seriously funny. Instead, you get o 
story involving o cancer-inducing 
ghost. Are you laughing yet? Roy- 
bon Kon stars as Andre Chang, a 
lecherous teacher who is diag- 



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one day Basement Jack would be released. Her 
worst ni^tniarc comes true, when Jack Riley is dis- 
charged from a state institution due to an unfair 
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Along with an old client of his 
mother's (Dan Ellis) who believes 
he's Hanger's dad, the societal 
reject — who just happens to have 
a bloodlust by default — goes on a 
crusade for revenge. The plot gets 
lost in Nicholson's constant bar- 
rage of explicit violence, sex and 
plain old gross-outs. (Tampon tea, 
anyone?) Scripted by Nicholson 
and Patrick Coble, Hanger is 
unabashed exploitation cinema, 
and automatically not for the eas- 
ily offended. However, even for its 
target audience of offensive-film 
junkies (like me), it feels like an 
overdose. We do get an entertain- 
ing spectacle, but after a while I 
began to feel like a guinea pig 
Nicholson was using to see how 
far he could push things. 

The DVD has as many bonus 
features as the film has rubber 
penises. Nicholson manages to 
keep his solo commentary interest- 
ing, providing a bit of insight into 
the madness. A 20-minute 
behind-the-scenes documentary 
supplements Nicholson's track, 
and lets us hear from the cast and 
see some great set footage. 

Troma's Lloyd Kaufman, who 
appears briefly as a transsexual 
hooker, shares his set experiences 
in the most fun extra, while Rose's 
Bush is pretty much a sex tape 
between her and her pimp. We 
get deleted scenes, a still gallery, 
a trailer and bloopers to boot, 
and the Dolby 5. 1 sound and 
1 .77: 1 transfer are of very high 
quality for the low budget. When 
Ellis calls Hanger "fansploitation," 
he's unknowingly describing its 
biggest flaw; still, for the sickest of 
the sick among us, this movie does 
provide cringeworthy amusement. 

CYCLOPS RATING: 

— Audrey Quaranta 


N ot since Death Bed: The 
Bed That Eats has there 
been a genre film with 


nosed with the terminal disease. 
His bumbling doctor (Rhys 
Darby) directs him to a clinical 
trial for a cure; there, he meets 
beautiful Juliet (Jessica Grace 
Smith), a dying high-schooler 
obsessed with deceased writer 
Charlotte Mansfield — who just 
happens to have met her end in 
the very hospital where the tests 
are taking place. Immediately 
the pair begin experiencing 
frightening hallucinations, and 
as they grapple with whether 
these delusions are due to the 
meds or not, it becomes clear 
that both they and the facility 
are haunted. When it comes to 
the spooks' identity, there's little 
surprise; the mystery that unravels 
after they're identified, and how it 
comes to light, is the true shocker. 

Director Jason Stutter (who 
also co-wrote with Kan) relies on 
misdirection for much of the sus- 
pense (and comedy, for that mat- 
ter), and unfortunately there are 
few straightforward scares for 
horror-minded individuals. To tell 
the truth, there are also few 
laughs, and almost all of them go 
to Conchords Brett McKenzie as 
the awkward doctor in charge. 
(Jemaine Clement, the other half 
of the duo, makes a brief appear- 
ance.) Diagnosis: Death is one of 
those films you go into expecting 
to love, and maybe that's part of 
its problem. With comic geniuses 
McKenzie, Clement and Darby 
involved, how could you not have 
high expectations? Even Smith 
and Suze Tye (as a Nurse Ratched 
type) pepper their performances 
with the tongue-in-cheek serious- 
ness a movie like this needs. It's 
Kan who falls completely short of 
the mark, and considering he's the 
lead, that's a huge problem. As 
the action and other actors find 
their stride, he continues to mis- 
step; instead of playing the char- 
acter as a James Spader-esque 
likable sleaze, he's merely a jerk. 
(No special features) 

CYCLOPS BATING: 


I f you've seen Gutter- 
balls, you know what to 
expect from director 
Ryan Nicholson, who by 
implication vows to top that 
shockfest with HANGER 
(Vicious Circle/Breaking Glass). 
Debbie Rochon plays Rose, a 
pregnant prostitute who is mur- 
dered by her pimp. The baby is 
removed with a wire hanger, sur- 
vives and grows up to be a 
deformed vagrant known as, well. 
Hanger (Nathan Dashwood). 


— Logan DeSisto 


such a preposterous title as 
I BOUGHT A VAMPIRE 
MOTORCYCLE (Redemption 
USA). This low-budget British hor- 
ror/ comedy from 1 990 might be 
silly to the point of inconsequence, 
but it makes good on its premise. 
The opening scene involves 
demon worshippers attacked by a 
biker gang; in the midst of their 
street fight, the blood of an evil 
spirit somehow gets siphoned into 
a classic motorbike. A goofy 
young courier named Noddy 
(Neil Morrissey) winds up pur- 
chasing the vehicle and restoring 
it, and that's when the trouble 
starts. Of course, during daylight 
hours, the bike won't start — but at 
night, watch out. The mirrors have 
a life of their own and ogle 
Noddy's girlfriend, the busted 
hubcap turns into a set of chomp- 
ing teeth and vicious-looking 
spikes sprout from the gas tanks, 
all the better to slash and mangle 
innocent roadside victims. The 
body count is surprisingly high 
considering the implausibility of 
the villain, which shows surprising 
dexterity, even chasing victims into 



hospitals and gymnasiums. 

While Motorcycle gets a little 
too self-conscious in its jokiness 
and its humor sometimes slips , 
from bad taste into crude inanity, 
it gets points for its ludicrous dar- 
ing. Just when you think you've 
seen it all, the movie tops itself 
with a bizarre, out-of- left-field set- 
piece that, once seen, won't be 
forgotten: Our hero finds himself 
in a bathroom being pursued by a 
talking turd (!) that can fly (!!) and 
demands to be eaten by our 
unlucky hero! What this has to do 
with the demonically possessed 
hog is anyone's guess, but the 
filmmakers clearly decided this 
scene was absolutely necessary. 
The DVD image appears surpris- 
ingly cleaned-up for a humble 
low-budgeter, and clearly every 
effort was undertaken to make this 


the best-looking vampire-motorcy- 
cle picture ever. The special fea- 
tures include a few trivial comic 
bits and an in-depth, 40-minute 
documentary that reassembles the 
cast and crew. Mostly, they laugh 
about how they managed to get 
investors to pay for such an odd- 
ball movie, though they also offer 
choice insights into how they 
pulled off having the driverless 
bike cruise around for a signifi- 
cant amount of the running time. 

CYCLOPS RATING: 

— Jeremiah Kipp 

T aping her tale of money 

woes so that some television 
show will make over her life, 
Amelia (Marieh Delfino) turns to 
her friend Suzy (Eve Mauro) to 
teach her the ways of exotic danc- 
ing. This setup is the best part of 
PENANCE (IMD): Getting to 
know Amelia, the first act's initial 
lightheartedness and Delfino's 
performance engage and enter- 
tain you — and not just because of 
the stripping. The meat of the film, 
however, concerns Amelia taking 
a mysterious job. Driven to an 
unknown location by Tony Todd 
(always a harbinger of good 
things — not), she ends up locked 
in a cell by the tyrannical Geeves 
(Graham McTavish), a once prac- 
ticing gynecologist who has now 
made a full-time job of purifying 
women steeped in sin. Naturally, 
this purification involves long, self- 
indulgent rants and genital mutila- 
tion, Everyone involved does their 
job well, there's a fun cameo from 
Michael Rooker and writer/direc- 
tor Jake {Days of Darkness] Ken- 



nedy proves he can handle the 
shaky-cam — though he loses 
points for failing to catch that 
"anonymous" is misspelled during 
the end title cards. 

The problem is, while Geeves' 
fanaticism isn't unheard of, mak- 



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ing his victims proclaim, "I am a 
stripper!" while torturing them 
ends up laughable, often ruining 
what could have been harrowing 
moments. McTavish smirks way 
too much in a film that claims 
Geeves is doing this "tough love" 
thing for the girls' own good, not 
his personal enjoyment. Also silly 
is a deleted subplot involving 
detectives (with painful acting, 
despite the presence of Lochlyn 
Munro) that leads to one of the 
most ludicrous alternate endings 
ever. The best of the extras has 
Kennedy demonstrating the block- 
ing of a long, complicated take 
with a camcorder, but the others — 
even the commentaries — aren't 
really worth spending time with. 
In-character interviews with the 
cast become hokey, and a "how 
to strip" featurette is basically just 
re-edited footage from the movie. 
Much of what's said in the com- 
mentaries and a taped interview 
with the director overlap, leading 
to a good deal of redundancy. 

You also get the feeling, since 
Kennedy mentions it often, that he 
was only interested in making 
another horror film because he 
believed it would be an easy sell; 
unfortunately. Penance has little 
redeeming value. 

CYCLOPS RATING: 

— Samuel Zimmerman 

'll start by reviewing the extras 
on THE WITCHES HAM- 
MER (MTI), since they're the 
only worthwhile material on this 
DVD. I should note first that I did 
not make a mistake: The title, 
erroneously, doesn't have an 
apostrophe — but that's far from 
the film's biggest miscue. Anyway: 
Making "The Witches Hammer" is 
an hour-long behind-the-scenes 
piece in which writer/director/ 
producer James Eaves et al. dis- 
cuss the ambitious locations and 
story, casting, costumes, makeup, 
fight choreography and how they 
shot 20 minutes of footage to land 
funding, and reveal that actress 
Sally Reeve got pregnant during 
production and ended up (acci- 
^ dentally) naming her son 
after her onscreen homici- 
• dal dwarf assistant. You'd 
think separate sound and 
score featurettes might be a 
bit dull, but audio designer 
Glen Yard and composer Mark 
Conrad Chambers provide very 
interesting, informative comments. 
Yard discusses the poor location 
recording and dysfunctional cam- 
era that required much ADR 
(which still didn't solve all the dia- 
logue sync problems), while 


Chambers reveals how he used 
orchestral samples and synthesiz- 
ers to create different character 
themes and the illusion of having 
a group of musicians when it was 
really a one-man band. Oh, and 
Chambers never met Eaves — 



their collaboration was done via 
e-mail! Outtakes and a trailer are 
also included. 

The 5.1 Dolby Surround audio 
is fine, the sync issues notwith- 
standing. However, the letterboxed 
transfer reveals the shortcomings 
of this low-budget production 
about Rebecca (Claudia Coulter), 
who is killed and turned into a 
"genetically produced" vampire 
weapon for a top-secret agency. 
She's assisted by Edward (Jon 
Sidgwick) and assigned by agency 
head — and witch — Madeline 
(Stephanie Beacham) to find the 
titular magical book in order to 
eradicate evil bloodsucker Hugo 
(Tom Dover). The movie is blem- 
ished by bland characters and act- 
ing, tiresome flashbacks, cheesy 
computer FX, slo-mo Matrix-style 
fights set to techno music and a 
confusing, cockamamie back- 
story/explanation. Only Reeve's 
corpulent vampire and her killer 
midget sidekick lighten up the 
pedestrian proceedings. Bad 
movie. Good extras. I give it: 

CYCLOPS RATING: 

— Allan Dart 

C heers to Monster FX for the 
gooey gore, slime and nifty 
creature designs in PLA- 
GUERS (Image), but shame on 
Brad Sykes for writing and direct- 
ing a rather plagiaristic flick. 
Reading the back of the DVD 
makes one worry that this is 
another Alien/Aliens ripoff, and 
watching the flick makes it pain- 
fully clear. Steve Railsback even 
plays the Lance Henriksen role of 
an android type who wanders 
around with that polite "I may be 


synthetic, but I'm not stupid" look 
on his face. Plot: a fuel-transport 
vessel "is hijacked by a band of 
sexy space pirates" who look like 
Austin Powers fembots. A stolen, 
glowing green orb that the crew 
has stashed on board begins 
infecting people, mutating them 
into slavering beasties that lurk, 
skulk, snarl and bite. Even though 
Sykes claims he wanted to do 
"something different, something 
unique, something that hadn't 
been done before," he's obviously 
adhering to the "good artists bor- 
row, great artists steal" rule, be- 
cause this cat has lifted golden 
nuggets from everything from 
Prince of Darkness to Demons. 
Sykes' heart seems to have been 
in the right place trying to make a 
homage to his favorite flicks, but 
he just crosses the line way too 
many times. 

My theory that the film's star- 
ship sets were stumbled upon by 
Sykes elsewhere, inspiring him to 
write this story, is proven correct 
in the featurette Scares in Space. 
Also revealed is the fact that the 
Plaguers are meant to be a cross 
between zombies and demons, 
though we never really know what 
the Plaguers want; they just maul 
folks without really eating them, 
and don't seem to enjoy infecting 
others — which is fine, I guess. An 
earnest and congratulatory com- 
mentary by Sykes, producer 
Josephine Sykes and Railsback is 
also included. Both this and the 
featurette expose how hard peo- 
ple worked on the film, especially 
assuring that the lighting was ade- 
quate for the FX, set design and 



atmosphere. And the lighting is 
terrific for the majority of the 
1.78:1 transfer — plenty of scenes 
are chock full of sinister and intim- 
idating shadows that could be 
housing one (or several) of the 
freaky creatures. It's bittersweet, 
since the dedication to the film's 
aesthetic aspects leaves one frus- 
trated that a more engaging story 


isn't being told. 

CYCLOPS RATING: 

— Chris Haberman 

W hen it comes to the 
paranormal, I'm the 
parallel of zombie 
purists. I prefer classic haunts, and 
one thing I haven't been able to 
get behind is certain elements of 
horror invading new technology. It 
should be scary that whatever our 
strides as a species may be, they 
still aren't safe from that which 
goes bump in the night, but it 
hasn't yet been done well, and 
GHOST MACHINE (Anchor 
Bay) is no exception. A special 



forces team decides to have some 
fun with their virtual training simu- 
lator one night in an abandoned 
prison that once served as a facili- 
tator of immoral torture tactics in 
the War on Terror. A particularly 
pissed-off, deceased POW haunt- 
ing the corridors proceeds to 
invite herself into the game, with 
one of the soldiers, Tom (Sean 
Paris), perhaps a tad more knowl- 
edgeable about what's going on 
than the rest. The film is slickly 
done, some of the military action 
is actually tense and — besides 
Paris, who's pretty terrible — the 
small cast is to be commended for 
its efforts. But the overuse of 
cheesy CGI hinders the specter's 
effectiveness. She could have 
been a spooky presence if it 
weren't for her computerized 
twitching, phantom karate moves 
and obviously digital chain 
extracting obviously digital gore. 

At least the prison setting is 
visually engaging in the 1 .85:1 
transfer, and the Dolby Surround 
5.1 audio makes sure you can 
hear that rattling chain wherever 
it goes. Aside from a by-the-num- 
bers behind-the-scenes featurette, 
(continued on page 81) 






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Red Snow 
By Michael Slade 
Penguin Canada 
3 36 pp,$24 

In the canon of Michael Slade 
supervillains, perhaps none is so 
broadly perverse and unabashed- 
ly pulpy as Mephisto. The megalo- 
maniacal man-monster 
first reared his preening 
head in Burnt Bones, and, 
after undergoing plastic 
surgery and changing his 
m.o. from mystical to medical, 
returned in the epically perverse 
Death's Door. Slade (the pseudo- 
nym of Vancouver criminal lawyer 
Jay Clarke) must be aware how 
much his legion of devoted fans 
(or "Sladists," as they're often 
called) love to hate Mephisto, 
because he's brought him back 


again in his latest serpentine pot- 
boiler, the aptly titled Red Snow. 

This time, Mephisto — after a 
botched facelift that has left his 
formerly handsome mug mon- 
strous — pitches camp in Whistler, 
BC in anticipation of the Winter 
Olympics, His intent is to unleash 
a smallpox-spliced strain of the 
Ebola virus upon the globally des- 
tined patrons, thus annihilating 
the world. But before he turns the 
planet into a hemorrhaging hor- 
rorshow, series regulars and 
RCMP "Special X" profilers Robert 
DeClerq and surviving Mephisto 
victim Nick Craven have to taste 
his violent, vengeful sting, the likes 
of which make chemical death 
seem like an easy exit. 

Unlike Slade's previous thriller, 
the dense, grim. Catholic-themed 


Crucified, Red Snow is lighter, 
breezier and almost Ian Fleming- 
esque in its narrative drive. 

Which is not to say it's free of the 
usual Slade trade: There's still tons 
of stomach-turning, awe-inspiring 
gore (in the first few pages, an 
unlucky snowboarder goes down- 
hill to a decapitation and shin- 
severing, his bleeding feet still 
attached to the careening board), 
maddening plot turns, historical 
sidebars and twisted sexuality. 

The book is a concentrated exer- 
cise in carnage, jamming right 
into the messy action and rarely 
letting up. 

What makes Mephisto such a 
compelling antagonist is not nec- 
essarily his reptilian, utterly 
debased nature or his larger- 
than-life narcissism (though those 


i 


i 




OF THE MONTH 


Under the Dome 
By Stephen King 
Scribner 

1,072 pp, $3 5 

As a kid growing up 
in the 1 960s, you could 
read some pretty imagi- 
native comic-book tales 
about Superman, his 
nemesis Brainiac and 
the bottle city of Kandor. 

They'd make you con- 
sider what it would be 
like living your day-to- 
day life encased in a 
clear glass bottle, at the 
whim of whatever 
beings had created your 
enclosure. With all the 
freakish weather in 
recent years, you may 
have even wished cities 
could be covered in 
domes. But what would 
that be like? 

Stephen King has 
provicfed the answer in a startlingly brutal 
peek at the disintegration of societal values 
after the fictional small town (would King set a 
tale in anything but?) of Chester's Mill, Maine 
is suddenly, one fine day when everyone is 
taking life pretty much for granted, encased in 
a large, clear dome of unknown origin and 
substance. Early reports on this book com- 
pared it to The Stand — arguably King's finest 
novel ever — and it's safe to say that as with 
that epic, you'll require fairly sinewy arms to 
hold up this 1 ,072-page beast. You should 


also, however, throw 
any other comparisons 
to The Stand into the 
dumpster. 

Rather than a broad 
study of what happens 
when deadly disaster 
strikes a nation, and 
how the few survivors 
make it from one end 
of the U.S. to the other. 
Under the Dome pro- 
vides a much more in- 
timate look at the 
immediate meltdown 
of a complete society 
crammed into a mea- 
ger geographic area. 
Like cornered animals, 
they battle and kill, yet 
as human animals they 
also connive, plotting 
to do anything — re- 
gardless of the guile 
and savagery re- 
quired — in order to sur- 
vive. No one can get in or out of the 
impenetrable barrier, resources — and possibly 
even air — are dwindling... you get the picture, 
and master storyteller King won't let you for- 
get how dire things are becoming with every 
turn of the page. 

This is an engaging, detailed story with 
nicely conceivea environmental and political 
overtones. And for a truly special gift edition, 
go to the ultimate King book vendor. Overlook 
Connection, at www.overlookconnection.com. 

— Bram Eisenthal 


MICHAEL SLADE 

RED SNOW 



help immensely), but rather the 
fact that he has big plans and a 
point to make. He's an intellectual 
with an ever-shifting philosophy 
and general loathing of mankind, 
and here, his plot to save the 
planet by destroying its surplus 
populace makes demented sense. 
He makes Hannibal Lecter look 
like a dime-store hoodlum. 

Red Snow is another winner 
from Slade, and while I've said it 
before. I'll frustratedly say it 
again: Someone needs to adapt 
this stuff for cinema, and soon. 
(Available at www.penguin.ca) 

— Chris Alexander 

The New Dead: A 
Zombie Anthology 
Edited by Christopher 
Golden 

St. Martin’s Griffin 
400 pp, $14.99 

Every time zombies seem to 
be at their most decomposed, a 
fresh one comes along to bite you 
on the ass. As a lover of short sto- 
ries, I was a tad wary of The New 
Dead (coming February 1 6), 
mostly due to its undead-centric 



concept. The fact that Christopher 
Golden (who co-authored my 
favorite book of the lost few 



years, Baltimore) put it together 
was reassuring, however, and as I 
feverishly read through the tales, 
it became clear that talented 
authors can still find creativity, 
humor and sometimes beautiful, 
sometimes harrowing, sometimes 
sickening emotion even in such an 
oversaturated subgenre. 

The New Dead features 
praiseworthy contributions from 
heavy hitters such as Max Brooks, 
David Wellington and Brian 
Keene, but will also serve to intro- 
duce many readers to writers such 
as David Liss and Aimee Bender, 
who turned in two of this collec- 
tion's standouts. What's especially 
intriguing is that many of these 
pieces focus on worlds already 
inhabited by the living dead. It is 
often not the first week or even 
month of infection; these societies 
and wildernesses have coped with 
the plague for quite some time, 
allowing the authors to find new 
ways of telling stories about love, 
growing up, obsession and loss 
within them. 

Warranting special mention is 
Liss' "What Maisie Knew," whose 
narrator falls deep into a world of 
zombie fetishism while trying to 
hide his one shameful secret that 
has come back to haunt him. It's a 
special tale with plenty to say 


about human interaction, guilt 
and the strikingly similar conse- 
quences of both sex and pain. Joe 
Hill also commands attention with 
'Twittering from the Circus of the 
Dead" — yes, it's told in tweet for- 
mat, but the author proves he can 
take the hokiest of concepts and 
truly make something out of it. 

If you're a zombie traditional- 
ist, be aware that slow, mute 
ghouls may not be as prevalent 
here as you'd like. But if you have 
a (figuratively) open mind, there's 
much to love in The New Dead. 

— Samuel Zimmerman 

Jane Bites Back 
By Michael Thomas 
Ford 

Ballantine 
297 pp,$l4 

Before there were Jane Austen 
mashups like the recent hit Pride 
and Prejudice and Zombies, there 
were scores of Austen spoofs, 
sequels and prequels. Maybe it's 
the universal appeal of her wit 
and wisdom, or unquenched 
desire due to her relatively small 
output, but lately, Austen-related 
merch is everywhere. Adding fuel 
to the fire, Jane Bites Back paro- 
dies all of it: the crossovers, the 
author's celebrity, even the tension 
between the romantics and more 



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literary fans. 

The time is the present, and 
Austen is Jane Fairfax, a 233- 
year-old vampire running a small 
bookshop in upstate New York. 
The vampire who turned her — 
Lord Byron (!) — shows up and 
wants her back, threatening to kill 



k a imh unhmndfy' 
{K i nc<i>4e ^ a d lha 
/one Aifs^ is 
lodf^ . . esayompire. 


or turn Jane's friends unless he 
gets his way, Jane is forced to 
confide in her funny, sarcastic 
assistant, and the girl is, of 
course, psyched! "! owe you for 
saving me from being the vampire 
love slave to Lord Byron. . .Actu- 
ally, maybe I should be mad at 


you for that." 

Meanwhile, Jane has just sold 
her first new novel in almost two 
centuries, and is thrown into the 
talk show/book club/ romance 
convention merry-go-round. With 
a female confidant, the seductive 
Byron and a virile human suitor, 
she's clearly in the middle of one 
of her own novels. Then again, 
she does have to feed every cou- 
ple of days, and now there are 
some crazy Bronte fans who want 
her dead. 

As vampire lite, Jane Bites 
Back is similar in tone to the 
Sookie Stackhouse books, and 
every bit as much fun, (It's nothing 
like the more genre-centric hor- 
ror/romance Vampire Darcy's 
Desire or the awful Mr. Darcy, 
Vampire.) Happily, Austen's ironic 
wit is firmly in place, if modern- 
ized. As Jane Fairfax, she has a 
gay editor and thinks the undead 
version of her book is pretty 
funny. She tries to be polite to the 
author of Waiting for Mr. Darcy 
who shows up to sign books and 
hawk "purity" lockets. But when 
that writer nastily admits her 
intention to grab her "piece of the 
Austen pie," well, Jane bares her 
bloody fangs. This is the first of a 
three-book series, and the outlook 
(continued on page 8 1 ) 



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I n the 1970s, a new 
species of horror flour- 
ished — the nature- 

runs-wild subgenre — 
with one creepy-crawly 
classic having a leg up 
(or perhaps eight) on 
most of the others: King- 
dom of the Spiders, the 
eerie tale of a ranching 
community whose local 
tarantulas organize into 
an aggressive, cattle- 
and-people-killing army. 

Toplining William Shat- 
ner and Tiffany Bolling, 
the Dimension Pictures 
release was a box-office 
hit in 1977, became a 
cult item in the interven- 
ing decades and is finally 
being given long-over- 
due special-edition DVD 
treatment this month by 
Shout! Factory. 

One of the minds 
from which Kingdom 
sprang was that of 
Stephen Lodge. Bom in 
Long Beach, California, 
he had his first Holly- 
wood jobs as a kid actor 
in the 1950s, playing 
small parts on TV As a 
young man, he began 
working behind the 
scenes in various capaci- 
ties; a two-season job as 
a set costumer on TV’s 
popular The Fugitive 
eventually led to a career 
as a costume supervisor. 

In the early 1970s, an 
interest in screenwriting 
resulted in the fames 
Cobum-starring rodeo 
movie The Honkers 
(1972) and, in collabo- 
ration with feffrey M. 

Sneller, Kingdom of the Spiders. The 
2000s have found him returning to writing, 
penning three novels and, most recently. 
And. . .Action!, a compilation of stories relat- 
ed to his life in the motion picture business. 

FANGORIA; How did you and Jeff Sneller 
come up with the idea for Kingdom of 
the Spiders! 

STEPHEN LODGE: I met Jeff in Tucson in 
1967 when I was the set costumer 
on the TV series Dundee and the 
Culhane. He was about my age and, 
like many of the locals, he worked 
extra on any Western that came to 
town. Between then and the time we 
wrote Kingdom, he had moved to Califor- 
nia, wiggled his way into the business and 
done a few pictures as a producer. One day 
in 1972, Jeff and I were sitting in the bar 
across from CBS Studio Center, and he 
asked, “You Wcint to write a horror pic- 
ture?” I had always wanted to write West- 
erns, but a horror picture was fine, so I 


A 

UVINGr 


Stephen Lodge helped create the 1977 cult 
fave “Kingdom of the Spiders” and bring it 
to fruition. 


said, “Sure!” Then he asked, “Well, what 
will we write it about?” I said, “I don’t 
know. What scares you the most?” 

There was a little beat, and then we 
both said, “Spiders'.” We said it simultane- 
ously, which made it very funny. Turns out 
both of us have been scared shitless of 
spiders since we were little kids! We went 
to the library and found a book on them, to 
use for research, and went over to his 
house in Studio City. We set up our type- 
writers on a table in the kitchen, across 
from each other, and started writing an 
outline. When we got that done, we said, 
“Why don’t we just go ahead and write the 
script?” I brought my typewriter over to his 
house every day, and he’d sit on one side 
of the table with an old manual and I sat 
on the other side with my old electric, we 
turned out I-don’t-know-/!ou)-many pages 
a day and did a first-draft script probably 
within a week or a week and a half. 

At first, we included different types of 
spiders, but we finally decided to make 


them all tarantulas 
’cause they were the 
ugliest ones. Our whole 
thing was, we would 
not have large, over- 
grown spiders; the 
ones in our script were 
just normal-sized and 
would get into groups 
and attack humans. We 
didn’t want our script 
to be an exaggerated 
sci-fi/horror picture; 
we wanted something 
that could happen. 
FANG; That was writ- 
ten in 1972, but it was 
years before anjrthing 
happened with it. 
LODGE: Jeff was mixed 
up with some kind of a 
producer named Pat 
Rooney, but he just 
didn’t ever get any- 
thing together. Finally, 
two years later, Jeff 
called and said, “1 
think we got a deal.” It 
turned out to be with 
[music editor] Igo Kan- 
tor, who’d produced a 
couple of pictures, and 
Jeff was going to be one 
of the producers. 
FANG: Kantor told me 
that during the casting 
process, when actress- 
es came into the pro- 
duction office, they’d 
be handed a tarantula 
to see how they’d re- 
act — and Barbara Hale 
“fainted dead away”! 
LODGE: No, it was 
Barbara Anderson. I 
can see where he made 
that mistake because 
both Barbaras are fa- 
mous for co-starring 
with Raymond Burr — Barbara Hale on 
Perry Mason and Barbara Anderson on 
Ironside. [Ed. note: Hale did co-star in the 
1976 Bill Rebane schlocker The Gicint Spi- 
der Invasion. ] Yes, Barbara Anderson was 
horrified! This was in our Arachnid Pro- 
ductions office, which was in the old 
Selznick studio in Culver City. 

FANG: Why was Kingdom shot in Arizona? 
LODGE: Probably they got the best deal 
there. Usually that’s why anybody shoots 
anywhere. I wasn’t on the production 
team. The only job they -could offer me 
was wardrobe — and not at my regular 
rate. I took the job for about half price be- 
cause I wanted to be with the show, to see 
what was going to happen. 

FANG: By the time it went into production 
in 1977, other writers had been involved. 
LODGE: I was never asked to rewrite any- 
thing; by the time I got there, they had 
already shopped it out to Alan Caillou, 
who was more of an actor than a screen- 
writer, and this Richard Robinson, who I 


Photo: Courtesy Igo Kantor 



things stolen out of Jaws — ^but that couldn’t 
have been you, because you did your writ- 
ing years before there was a Jaws. 
LODGE: Those moments were things the 
other guys [Caillou and/or Robinson] put 
in. I was just now thumbing through our 
screenplay, the one Jeff and I wrote, and 
noticing some of the differences between 
it and the movie. In ours, there was a vet- 
erinarian named Hansen, who was an 
older man, and a hero named Peter Cook; 
in the rewriting, they combined the two 
characters into one, played by William 
Shatner. In our script, Peter was a lawyer 
who came to Camp Verde to see his little 
daughter and his ex-wife; in the movie, 
our ex-wife ended up being the wife of 
Shatner’s late brother, and so the little 
girl became his niece. The movie features 
all the stuff we wrote, but manipulated 
around enough to make someone think it 
was different, if they ever even saw the 
original. Those characters were changed; 
in our draft, the cattle rancher played by 
Woody Strode had a son, and so on. 
rU go very lightly into something that 


studio work; everything was shot on loca- 
tion in Sedona and Camp Verde. In Sedona 
were the cabins where Tiffany [Bolling’s] 
character stayed, and where all the peo- 
ple are trapped at the end. That lodge was 
up in Oak Creek Canyon, where John 
McCain lives. It was a pretty exclusive 
tourist place, but for about a week it was 
all ours. They fed us every day out of the 
kitchen; the best food we had was there. 
We also shot in Sedona the scenes where 
Shatner, Tiffany and the little girl, 
Natasha Ryan, ride their horses and have 
a picnic. The rest was Camp Verde, which 
is a nice drive from Sedona. 

FANG: If a bunch of people came to my 
town to shoot a movie and brought 5,000 
tarantulas, I don’t think I’d be pleased. 
Was everybody there happy about what 
you were doing? 

LODGE: First of all, it was 2,000 tarantu- 
las. Other people who were on that movie 
like to say now there were 5,000, but on 
the day we started shooting, it was 2,000. 
Every one of them was individually kept 
in a plastic container, the kind you’d get if 


first clip them so that person would not 
get bitten. 

FANG: Once their fangs were clipped, 
how soon would they die? 

LODGE: I have no clue. But there’s no 
way for them to kill their prey if they don’t 
have those. 

FANG: Walk me through the shooting of, 
say, an outdoor scene with a couple of 
dozen spiders running ciround. 

LODGE: We’d have a bunch of those plas- 
tic containers and take the tops off and 
put ’em on the ground upside down, 
without letting the spider out, so it 
kept the spider in one place. Then 
when we were ready to shoot, some- 
body woxdd say, “OK, run and pick up 
all the containers,” and 15 crew 
guys, or however many were there, would 
dash in and start lifting them, letting the 
spiders run wild. This was an independent 
picture, there wasn't any union bullshit, 
so [the crew guys] could do all this. 
Everybody would run in and pick up the 
containers and get out of the frame, and 
then the filming could begin. Then, once 


don’t believe I ever met. He was a Florida 
guy, I think. Caillou I met because he 
came out and visited for maybe a week, 
smoking a pipe and acting like he was The 
Big Writer. First he had done some rewrit- 
ing, and then they brought Robinson in. 
FANG: Caillou told me that your script, 
the one he was asked to revise, was “abso- 
lutely unworkable”! 

LODGE: If the script was unworkable, 
why the hell did they buy it? 

FANG: Did you like nature-runs-amok 
movies of this sort? 

LODGE: Wellll, I wasn’t really a sci-fi fan. 
I had seen The Birds, and yes, there were 
a few things we stole out of that. But [the 
makers of The Birds] probably stole some 
things out of somethin’ else too [laughs] I 
It’s done all the time, believe me. 

FANG: In Kingdom, there are also a few 


doesn’t really need to be mentioned, but I 
was drinking heavily in those days, and 
there were a lot of things [about the 
screenwriting business] that I didn’t 
understand. Later on, when the Writers 
Guild got involved trying to figure out who 
deserved what credit on the picture, I 
never went there, never even submitted 
anything — I figured that everybody would 
be honest. Anyway, here I am today sitting 
with our first-draft script [that closely 
matches the movie] in my hand, and they 
gave Jeff and me screen credit as “Story 
by.” That's how screwed we got. [Find out 
how screwed they got by reading the synopsis 
oj their first-drajt script on page 77. ] 

FANG: During shooting, did you get much 
cooperation from the Arizona locals? 
LODGE: Oh, sure, you always do. Just 
hand over a little money! There was no 


you went to the deli and said, “Give me a 
pound of cole slaw.” There was wet cotton 
in each container so the spider wouldn’t 
dry out, maybe a couple of crickets so it 
could eat and there were holes cut in the 
tops. These containers were kept stacked 
in the back of a truck. They died easy; 
tarantulas live in little holes in the 
ground, they’re not used to being out and 
about like they are in the movie. They 
were Mexican red spiders, so I assume 
they came from Mexico. Our “spider wran- 
glers” came up with them. 

FANG: If one of yonr spiders bit me, what 
would I get, besides the bite? 

LODGE: It’s like a bee sting. But what the 
spider wranglers would do was clip off the 
spiders’ chelicerae — the little fangs — and 
they’d die from that. If the spiders were 
going to be on somebody in a scene, they’d 



► 


V 

r 


they got the shot and the director yelled 
cut, somebody would say, “All right, go 
cover ’em!” and we’d run back in and put 
the containers upside down over all the 
spiders. None of ’em ever escaped. The 


done a few scenes, she made a hig stink 
about that, so everybody had to start 
being careful with them. 

FANG; I guess those were the days when 
you didn’t have to worry too much about 


"I made a deal that I would do the wardrobe 
but I would not touch a spider, because...why 
do you think I wrote the script?” 


wranglers would go in then and put the 
tops on the containers. 

FANG; And how about when we see spi- 
ders inside buildings? 

LODGE; Inside it was a different story; it 
was usually just a few spiders at a time, 


animal rights organizations, yes? 

LODGE; Well, they're not animals, they’re 
spiders] There was no ASPCA-type organi- 
zation for spiders in those days; they were 
insects, hke a fly. I “love” this whole new 
bullshit thing where anything that 


able to be sure you got ’em all out again? 
LODGE; Uhh...you just hoped [laughs]. 
Inside, they were much easier to control 
than outside, because we’d never have a 
thousand of ’em indoors. We probably 
never even had a thousand at one time 
outside, even for the scene in Camp Verde 
where the tarantulas are attacking all the 
people on the street. In that scene, a ton 
of the spiders in the distance were rubber, 
and then the ones in the really far dis- 
tance were stencils; people went around 
stenciling them on walls with spray paint. 
Go to Camp Verde today and you can prob- 
ably still find some [/aupAs]! Also, every 
spider that died was saved, and for the 
scene where all the people are running 
down the street, they hired three local 



like when you see a bunch on the hanging 
light bulb in the cellar of the lodge. I 
guess they glued those spiders to the 
bulb, and they were obviously killed when 
the bulb exploded. And then in the kitch- 
en, when Lieux Dressier [playing the 
lodge owner] throws boiling water on the 
spiders in the sink, you saw ’em scurry 
because it was boiling water. See, when 
we first got [to Arizona], I figured people 
hated spiders as much as I did, and it 
wouldn’t bother them to see one of these 
. f**kers squished. So we did a shot 
^ of Shatner running around a comer 
• and stepping on one, right in close- 
up, and out squirted all this green 
shit. When we saw it in dailies, it 
was, like. . .really yucky. 

I don’t remember now whether Tiffany 
Bolling saw [the spider-squishing] on the 
set or in dailies, but she said, “Oh my God, 
what are you doing? These are httle crit- 
ters!” In her mind, she made ’em into ani- 
mals, just like PETA has done now. They 
were nothin’ but frickin’ spiders as far as I 
was concerned [/aue’As]. But after we’d 


If you hove to lie covered with tarantulas, face down is the way to go. 


breathes, even if it can kill ya, is consid- 
ered an animal. Or “a critter,” as Tiffany 
would have said. It’s like when Obama 
swatted a fly, and people bitched about 
that whole thing. Isn’t that ridiculous? 
FANG; Once spiders overran an interior 
location, like the lodge, how were you 


girls to glue dead ones on the extras. 
FANG; Can you talk a little about some of 
the cast members? 

LODGE; Shatner was OK, he was friendly 
enough. He raised horses and liked to ride 
them, so maybe that’s why [one of the 
Kingdom rewriters] had his character 


However frightened they 
looked, no actors (like Aitovise 
Davis) were injured while 
filming Kingdom — though 
some of the spiders were. 


Photo: Courtesy Stephen Lodge Photo: Courtesy Igo Kantor 


doing that. I’d worked with him before, on 
a movie of the week [1973’s The Horror at 
37,000 Feet], and I did aSfar Trek [“Whom 
Gods Destroy”) for a few days one time. 
But I didn’t hang out with him. I don’t 
think he hung out with anybody. 

FANG: He was aloof? 

LODGE; So many of ’em [actors] behave 
that way. It’s like they think they’re better 
than you. One who never did was Jim 
Arness. When I worked on Gunsmoke, 
he’d eat with the crew. They’d call lunch 
and he’d run to the catering truck, trying 
to get there faster than anybody else 
[laughs]] Meanwhile, other stars have to 
have their food brought to them in their 
private dressing rooms. Anyway, on King- 
dom, I took all the clothes over to Shat- 
ner’s house and we fit him over there. 
Marcy Lafferty, his wife at the time, 
played his widowed sister-in-law. She was 
fine. Natasha Ryan [playing Lafferty’s lit- 
tle daughter] loved the spiders; she 
thought they were great. For one scene, 
they put her on a bed and threw all the 
spiders around her, and it didn’t seem to 
bother her at all! In an article on the mak- 
ing of Kingdom [Fango #172], Natasha 
said big fans were used to make the spi- 
ders run toward people, because they 
wanted to run away. And that’s right, the 
spiders would try to run away, they didn’t 
want to be there. They’d seen their bud- 
dies gettin’ stepped on, I guess [laughs], 
FANG: So, castwise, everybody was OK 
with the spiders? 

LODGE: The only one who was really 
afraid of them was the actress who played 
the vacationing Colorado wife at the lodge 
[Adele Mails] . I had brought with me plas- 
tic suits that would cover the wearer from 
wrists to neck to ankles — the kind people 
used to wear when they ran, so they could 
sweat to lose weight. I brought a bunch of 
those in case some of the actors wanted 
’em, but she was the only one who wanted 
to wear one of those under her clothes. 

Tiffany Bolling was all right, I guess. 
They [actors and actresses] all have an 
opinion of themselves that’s a little bigger 
than they are; she was probably happy as 
shit she was doin’ a movie, but acted like 
she’d done it aU her life. She played the 
part well. Lieux Dressier was great, wasn’t 
she? I’ve run into her at a couple of festi- 
vals, and it was like old times. Woody 
Strode was great too. He liked his wine, 
and he was just as cool and casual as you 
see him on the screen. His wife was 
played by Altovise Davis, the wife of 
Sammy Davis Jr. This was one of her first 
pictures and she was very professional, 
didn’t have any problems. When I fit her, I 
marked everything and took her outfits to 
my mother’s house and I had my mom do 
all the alterations. I’m used to working at 
a studio where you’ve got tailors, etc., but 
on Kingdom we couldn’t do that on the 
budget we were on. It was crazy. 

FANG: The budget: How low was it? 
LODGE: This is how things would hap- 
pen: I asked for an extra motel room to 
use as a wardrobe space, and when I got 


ii 


The Spiders!” by Stephen Lodge 
and Jeffrey M. Sneller: 

First Draft Synopsis 


B ehind the credits we see a spider spinning its 
web, ond then a flying insect getting caught in 
the silken net. Green Pine County cattle rancher 
Walter Colby and his 1 5-year-old son Burt bring a 
frothing-at-the-mouth calf to the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture Experimentol Form, where 60ish veterinar- 
ian David Hansen examines spider bites on its body. In 
the Los Angeles area, State University teacher Elizobeth 
Ashton ("an attractive woman — flaxen-haired, fastidi- 
ously formed, late twenties") is asked by her depart- 
ment head to deliver on antidote for the prize coif; 
traveling by car to the small community, she arrives too 
late. Elizabeth takes a cabin at Washburn Lodge, where 
that night, in the dining areo, she meets Peter Cook 
("Thirties, tanned, good-looking"), once a local, now a 
Los Angeles lawyer, who hos come to town to visit his 
ex-wife Susan and his 4-year-old daughter Linda. 

The following day, rancher Colby tells Elizabeth 
that another of his calves has died and that he's about 
to burn what he calls a "spider hill" — a cone-shaped 
mound 3 feet in diameter, (from the script: "Occasion- 
ally a hairy leg appears through one of the many trap 
doors, and although the spiders never come completely 
out of their burrows, we get the feeling of on inner, 
pulsating energy.") Driving back to the lodge, Elizabeth 
meets Peter on the road, ond the smooth talker gets 
her to join him for dinner at a lakeside restaurant. 
Meanwhile, in Colby's field, scores of spiders burst out 
of another mound and, like an army forming ranks, 
they begin to move toward the barn, where a calf is 
bowling. The next morning, Colby finds its body ("o 
skin-covered skeleton — parts of the carcoss draped in 
a web-like substance"), puts it in the back of his pickup 
truck and heads for Dr. Hansen's. When a spider 
appears on his shoulder and bites him, the swerving 
truck plummets off a high cliff and bursts into flames. 

Elizabeth, Peter and little Linda go to Bear Canyon 
to picnic and for Elizabeth to look for spiders; she cap- 
tures a trapdoor spider and puts it in a [or. Elizabeth 
and Peter make out while, nearby, Linda plays with the 
jar, unaware that large tarantulas are flinging them- 
selves at a rabbit until the squirming onimal is covered 
in a blonket of them. Unoware of what has happened, 
the three leave; Elizabeth and Peter make love in her 
cabin that night. 

The next morning, Elizabeth and Peter go to the 
Colby ranch, where Sheriff Smith has just arrived to 
break the news of Walter's death to Mrs. Colby ond 
Burt. A large tree branch snaps off under the weight of 
some indistinguishoble object, neorly hitting Elizabeth. 
Cocooned to the branch is Burt's shriveled corpse; inside 
the house, the sheriff finds Mrs. Colby's body. (SHERIFF: 
"Same as the boy.") At Susan's place, hundreds of spi- 
ders are converging on the sandbox where an unaware 
Linda is playing. Susan sees what's happening, gets 
Linda inside the house ond tries to sweep the spiders 
awoy before succumbing to their sheer numbers. Eliza- 
beth and Peter arrive and see a "large cluster of spi- 
ders on Susan's diminishing form." 

Elizabeth, Peter and the rescued Undo speed to 
Washburn's Lodge, where they can't phone out because 
(os we see in a shot of the local telephone office) the 
switchboard operator is sprawled on the floor, shriveled 
and cocooned. Peter drives to the sheriff's office, and 
they are about to radio the highway patrol when they 


hear the screams of children running out of a nearby 
schoolhouse as an army of spiders, "like a black mov- 
ing carpet," converges on them from all directions. The 
sheriff gets the kids into a grocery store while Peter 
heads back to the lodge. Spiders mass on the building, 
their pulsating undersides pressed against all windows, 
os the occupants seal up exterior openings and start a 
kerosene fire in the fireplace. Back in the grocery 
store, the sheriff makes o dash to get a first aid kit out 
of his car, but while driving back to the store, the spi- 
der-covered lawman loses control and croshes into a 
gas station pump ("The SCREEN literolly leaps into 
flame"). 

At the lodge, spider expert Elizabeth is unable to 
provide ony advice: "This is completely controry to 
everything I learned. . .1 mean, spiders aren't sociol 
creatures, like ants and bees. They just don't work 
together." Doors and windows are boarded up, but an 
unlocked basement window is overlooked and soon spi- 
ders are swarming through the heating vents. The situ- 
ation is again brought under control, but at 7 the next 
morning, when Peter peers between a crack in the 
boards covering a window, his mouth falls open. A local 
radio stotion signs on with "The Star Spangled Banner" 
as he begins ripping boards from windows, revealing 
that the building is covered in o silky substance. 


ELIZABETH 

We're in a cocoon...They've put us 
in storage! 

EMMA [the lodge owner] 

Yn mean they're gone...? 
VERNON [a lodge guest] 
(Quickly) 

What are we waiting for...let's get 
out of here! 


E)a. WASHBURN'S LODGE -DAY 


CAMERA PULLS BACK AND UP, reveoling the entire 
lodge — completely encased in a beautiful silk-like 
web. . .SPARKLING. . .The RADIO MUSIC continues to 
blare out, os we: 


FADE OUT 




1 : 




A 






If 


Stephen Lodge (left, with Woody Strode) put 
his own orochnophobio on screen os a scripter. 




there, of course they didn’t have two 
rooms, so I ended up with all these cos- 
tumes hanging in mine. Everything would 
happen like that; there were always lies, 
just to get rid of ya. And later on, when 


you brought up something that had been 
agreed to, it was like, “What are you talk- 
ing about?” Well, another example of that 
was the script: It was “By Stephen Lodge 
and Jeff Sneller” until I got my copy, and 
all of a sudden it also had Alan Caillou’s 
name on it. I asked, “What the hell's 
this?” and I was told, “Oh, he’s just a guy 


because obviously nobody had told him 
that I wouldn’t touch them, and we got 
into a big argument and almost a fistfight. 
I walked off the set and found a dressing 
room and got drunk. An hour or two later. 


he came looking for me and we talked, 
and it did not come to blows. Had I been 
sober it might have [laughs], but I was in 
no condition to do anything! 

FANG; Did you like Cardos, overall? 
LODGE: I gotta hand it to him, “Bud” Car- 
dos was fine. He was very into it, he was 
nice, he was pleasant and he knew what 


sheriff’s car — that was “Bud” Cardos’ biiiig 
deal; it seemed like all he was interested 
in was gettin’ to that stunt. They had the 
legs of the tower all rigged with joints and 
whatever, so when the car hit it, the tower 
would go down right where they wanted it 
to go. Whitey Hughes [the stunt driver] 
had to nail it at the right angle and so on. 
“Bud” was so focused on that, sometimes 
you almost wondered if he was really 
interested in the rest of the show! But he 
was, and he did a good job. 

FANG: Where did you Hollywood folks 
stay when you were making the movie? 
LODGE: In a motel in Sedona. It was a 
class place with a restaurant and bar but, 
as I mentioned, they didn’t have enough 
money for a wardrobe room, so I slept 
with a couple of racks of clothes. Accord- 
ing to my diary, I was there from March 


”1 figured people hated spiders as much as I 
did, and it wouldn’t bother them to see one 
of them squished.” 



On location, William Shatner offers his usual welcome to female lead Tiffany Bolling. 


he wanted. I’d never worked with him — 
I’d never even heard of him before — but he 
was a stuntman who had also directed a 
couple of little pictures before that. The 
scene in Kingdom where the runaway car 
takes out two of the legs of the water 
tower and it falls over and crushes the 


21, 1977, through April 22 — a month. 
FANG; What was there to do in that 
part of Arizona when you weren 't mak- 
ing the movie? 

LODGE; You really were always making 
the movie, and that included at night 
’cause you were always talkin’ about 

www.fangoria.com 


who did a little rewriting on it, but don’t 
worry about it.” It was always, “Don’t 
worry, Steve, don’t worry, don’t worry.” 

The major example of [broken promis- 
es] was, before we started, I made a deal 
with the production company that I would 
do the wardrobe but I would not touch a 
spider, because... why do you think I 
wrote the script? ’Cause I was so scared 
of spiders; I couldn’t stand ’em! I didn’t 
come away from the picture that way, but 
at the outset I said, “I do not want to be 
, around any spider, dead or alive,” 
and I was promised, “Don’t worry 
• about it, Steve, you’U never have to 
worry about that.” Then when we 
went to do the scene on the airfield 
where the pilot [Whitey Hughes] in 
the cropdusting plane is covered with spi- 
ders, I heard, “Where’s wardrobe? We 
need spiders on the pilot.” I said, “Wait a 
minute, I have a ded where I don’t have 
to — ” but they didn’t care about anything 
like that. 

That’s when Mr. John “Bud” Cardos 
[the director] and I got in a real tussle. 


Photos: Courtesy Stephen Lodge 





Director John "Bud" Cordos (right) took Shotner and co. on o fear trek. 


what you were gonna do the next day and 
all that jazz. If you drank, you drank; if 
you met somebody you liked, you screwed 
[laughs] . . . My very good friend Hoke How- 
ell, we got him a part in that [as a hick gas 
station attendant], and once Hoke got 
there, we went out to dinner whenever we 
had the chance. That’s the way it is on 
every show you go on; it's a vacation, not 
a location, for a lot of people. Especially 
the married ones. The married ones 
always have to fall in love with some of 
the locals! 

FANG; And the 'locals were into working 
on this movie? 

LODGE; Yeah, but not like they were 
when we did The Honkers in New Mexico, 
when we had James Cobum there. They 
were much more excited to have a big mov- 
ie star than [the Arizona locals] were to 
have a has-been TV guy [Shatner]. I don’t 
think Star Trek was so well-remembered 
at that time, not like it is now. 

FANG: You mentioned earlier that you 
came away from the picture no longer 
scared of spiders. 

LODGE: I brought home a rubber one, and 
I brought home a real one. 

FANG; An old spider-hater like you 
brought one home?! 

LODGE: His name was Rags, and he lived 
in my house for five, six years. I learned 
how to pick him up, how to let him walk 
on my arm and so on. One time I got up in 
the morning and there were two of ’em in 


the terrarium. Turns out that, in order to 
grow, tarantulas periodically shed their 
whole outer body, their exoskeleton, the 
way a snake sheds its skin. They come out 
of it like it was a cocoon, and suddenly 
there’s a “brand new” tarantula standing 
there, with hair on it and everything, and 
the empty exoskeleton standing next to it, 
looking just like a second one. It shakes 
you up if you’re hung over. I’ll tell ya! 
FANG: Where did you see the movie for 
the first time? 

LODGE: At a drive-in in Burbank where it 


was second-billed to a thing called The 
Swarm, which had Michael Caine. I be- 
lieve the people liked Kingdom better. It’s 
hard to teU that in a drive-in [laughs], but 
that’s the impression I got. Nobody drove 
out, anyway! I went with Hoke Howell 
and a couple of other guys. 

FANG: To your mind, which scenes 
worked the best? 

LODGE: One scene I liked was where the 
lady entomologist [BoUing] gets out of the 
shower and, with nothing on but a towel, 
(continued on page 82 ) 



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DR. CYCLOPS 

(continued from page 70) 

all that's included extras-wise is an interview 
with co-screenwriter Sven Hughes. The latter is 
interesting, because he discusses concepts that 
aren't exactly to be found in the film itself, 
making one wonder if all of the 9/1 1 and 
War on Terror references were part of a 
larger picture at some point. But then again, 
in a film where a character attempts to trap 
the ghost in what's basically a "My Docu- 
ments" folder, it's hard to imagine taking such 
commentary seriously. 

CYCLOPS RATING: 

— Samuel Zimmerman 

L awyer Bryan Becket (Tim Daly) is THE 
SKEPTIC (IFC/MPI) in writer/director 
Tennyson Bardwell's would-be spooker. 
Well, "skeptic" is a nice way to put it, 'cause 
it's possible to be skeptical without being an 
intolerant, high-handed wiseass — but not for 
Becket. So when this book-smart boob has a 
bit of wife trouble at home and decides to 
temporarily move into in a deceased aunt's 
reportedly haunted mansion, which he thinks 
he's going to inherit, we just know that spooky 
stuff will happen and that he's in for some 
tough times. The first part of that prediction 
turns out to be correct: There are strange 
"voices" and split-second spectral sightings 
aplenty. Unfortunately, the hoped-for "tough 
times" are mostly endured by the hapless 
viewer as, at the midpoint, Becket (and poor 
us!) start spending a good bit of time with his 
psychiatrist (Edward Herrmann), a clergyman 
(Robert Prosky in his last movie), etc. 

Bubbling to the surface of his psyche are 
loads of repressed childhood memories that 
he doesn't want to think about, and we want 
to think about even less. The long-dead 
mother he doesn't even remember may have 
been not-nice to him — tsk\ The soundtrack gets 
an infusion of slow, Lifetime-network-style 
piano playing. A semi-comic psychic (Zoe 
Saldana) joins the brigade trying to help him 
deal with his issues. Even his boss is "there for 
him." The 
boss is 
played by, 
don't laugh, 

Tom Arnold. 

(Oh, that's 
right, it's 
Tom Arnold. 

We never 
laugh!) And 
throughout, 
we keep an 
eye on the 
frame line, 
expecting 
Dr. Phil to 
step in and 

stage an intervention. Capped off by the type 
of ending that leaves you groaning "Don't tell 
me that's it," this is haunted-house horror for 
TV's 8:00 time slot. (No special features) 

CYCLOPS RATING: 


LIBRARY- 

(continued from page 73) 

is promising, as Byron reveals she has only 
scratched the surface of her powers. 

— Linda Marotta 

The Monstrumologist 
By Rick Yancey 
Simon & Schuster 
454 pp, $17.99 

This is one fantastic, old-fashioned crowd- 
pleaser of a Gothic horror novel. Told from the 
perspective of the 1 3-year-old assistant to a 
scientist who specializes in monsters, the prose 
is amusingly purple and pulpy. The action is 
furious, violent, gross and gory. It's packed 
with monsters, from tiny parasites to hulking 
ghouls. The time: the late 1 9th century. The 
place: New England. The pages: adorned with 
engravings of medical instruments and anato- 
my. It's basically the formula for my heart. And 
best of all: It's the first (again) of a trilogy! 

Supposedly, these are the journals of 
young Will Henry, an orphan whose father 
was the previous assistant to Pellinore War- 
throp — Monstrumologist (1). This particular 

adventure 
covers the 
affair of the 
Anthro- 
pophagi. 
Stepping into 
his father's 
servitude. 

Will sees 
more than a 
child should 
of gruesome 
doings in the 
doctor's 
basement 
laboratory. 
Late one 
night, a 

graverobber brings them the corpse of a beast, 
wrapped around the partially consumed body 
of a little girl. Warthrop recognizes the crea- 
ture as anthropophagus — a humanoid, man- 
eating predator, mentioned by Herodotus, 

Pliny and Shakespeare. (Historical ghouls!!!) 
Each beast is 7 feet tall — no head, but thou- 
sands of teeth in a sharklike mouth on its belly. 
The doctor is fascinated and disturbed by the 
infestation of this African native on our conti- 
nent. The search will take Warthrop, Will and 
a flamboyant rival monster hunter with a fond- 
ness for Nietzsche into insane asylums, grave- 
yards and underground labyrinths. 

Poor Will is depicted as a sad little fellow, 
picking bits of brain and offal out of his hair 
as he longs for a more human connection with 
the icy mad scientist, Yancey lays the lad's 
internal dialogue on thick: "this crisis of loneli- 
ness, this inconsolable sorrow, this incurable 
dread." Many cliches get tossed about with the 
gore in the doctor's "pit of peculiarities and 
putrefaction," but this is technically (though not 
necessarily) a young adult novel, so that 
explains the boy's exaggerated lamentations. 

As for the "vivid visions of voracious vermin," I 
say, keep 'em cornin'. 

— Linda Marotta 




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— Tom Weaver 






s 


C hris Alexander is still trying to 
shake the aftershocks of Lars von 
Trier's Antichrist. Logan DeSisto visited 
the Stake Land set for us. Jan Doense is 
preparing a four-picture slate for his new 
House of Netherhorror company. Bram 
Eisenthal is a self-employed writer, 
under the company name Beyond Words 
Media. Ted Geoghegan is thinking 
about moving into Manhattan. Can any- 
one spare a million bucks? Chris 
Haberman loves rereading Fango 
issues from the '80s. Michael Helms 
can't stop; he's on a Road Train to Coffin 
Rock. Stephen King's seminal genre 
survey Danse Macabre will be reissued in 
a revised Pocket Books edition February 
23. Jeremiah Kipp recently directed 
the horror short Contact. Philip Nut- 
man's first short-story collection. Cities 
of Night, will be out this year. Check out 
Brian O'Toole's films Evilution and 
Basement Jack on DVD. Mark Salis- 
bury is the author of the upcoming Alice 
in Wonderland: A Visual Companion. 
Look for Marc Shapiro's Zombie Proof 
when the publisher finishes Afghanistan 
military duty. Tom Weaver takes a 
backseat to no man in his fear of spiders. 
William Sean Wilson was nearly 
tore up (sic) on the Cabin Fever 2 set. 


E 


verything old is grue again in the 
next issue of Fango. 

With THE WOLFMAN roaring 


back to the screen, legendary FX wizard 
Rick Baker is opening up his portfolio 
pnc 


rv r/ 

I his portfolic 
and sharing exclusive photos. Be here to 
check out the step-by-step transformation 
of star Benicio Del Toro. 

An actor who needs no makeup to 
wig out is Nicolas Cage, who jaunts 
through the 1 4th century in SEASON 
OF THE WITCH He's joined by Ron 
Perlman for this adventure with sor- 
cery and the Black Plague, and we'll 
have all the details. 

Speaking of diseases, also on hand 
will be the second part of our set visit to 
THE CRAZIES, with the cast and film- 
makers shedding further light on their 
updated sickness saga. And there are 
more big-ticket reduxes waiting in the 
wings: We'll begin our coverage of the 
2010 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM 
STREET and PIRANHA 3D next time, 
and have the story on the new NIGHT 
OF THE DEMONS that got 
delayed from this issue as well. 
Look for a chat with popular 
.zombie author Jonathan Ma- 
berry and a retrospective on the 
'70s monster flick SLITHIS as 
well, plus peeks at other forthcoming 
frights. The past terrorizes the present in 
FANGORIA #2911 


ON SALE: FEBRUARY 23 
www.fangoria.tom 


TRIANGLE 

(continued from page 34) 

of it being ships vanishing, it’s about 
time — they get lost in time? But I kept 
Triangle as the title; it was right for the 
movie. If people want to see it as the 
Bermuda 'Triangle, they can — ^but it isn’t.” 

Once settled on that narrative ap- 
proach, Smith then faced the challenge of 
putting his seafaring saga before the cam- 
eras. “When you write a script, you sort of 
think to yourself, ‘There’s a liner and a 
storm.’ But you don’t think, or I don’t any- 
way, how to create a storm or find a liner. 
I just assumed we’d find a ship, but this 
time we couldn’t; I wish we’d looked a lit- 
tle bit harder, actually. So we built this 
one. I didn’t want it constructed inside 
the studio, because I wanted to be able to 
film the real ocean next to it. That does 
something for a movie. If you watch a film 
like Road to Perdition, it was very studio- 
based, and I didn’t like that. As soon as 
you get onto the beach near the end, 
something changes and the movie comes 
alive. Studio-bound movies, for me, 
always feel a Little cold.” 

Smith is avoiding shrouding his film in 
darkness as well. “When we’re outside, 
instead of shooting it at night, like in 
Ghost Ship, we’ll be out in bright daylight, 
using the sun to create shadows, with lots 
of silhouettes. You can’t really look into 
the sun, so it’s behind whoever the killer 

is. It won’t be easy, but it’ll pay dividends. 
It means we’ll have to be more creative 
with the camera to create tension. It will 
look different. Again, The Shining wasn’t 
shot all at night. The corridors won’t have 
the lights out. You don’t have to be in 
darkness to create fear.” 

That tension, he adds, will be leavened 
with a few touches of humor. “It’s not a 
black comedy,” he says, “but it has a cou- 
ple of characters, Sally and Downey, a 
New York couple who are garish, rich and 
brash. They provide a lighter element. As 
the story becomes darker and darker, 
they’ll always be there doing something, 
and because you don’t know what’s going 
to happen, that will keep some humor in 

it. ” Smith’s convinced he has found the 
right balance between these chuckles and 
the chills; “I spent two years writing this 
bloody thing, and I feel I’ve worked out 
most of it. 

“It’s against the grain, really,” he con- 
cludes, bringing up one last, more con- 
temporary film as a reference point. “It’s 
less of a horror movie, in a way, than a 
thriller, but it has moments of graphic vio- 
lence, so it definitely crosses over into 
both camps. It’s very bold. There’s a mov- 
ie called Moon where a guy encounters 
another version of himself, and there are 
things like that in this movie. All kinds of 
‘You’re not sure whether he’s dead.’ It’s 
an original idea, and something I haven’t 
seen before. It’s not going to be such a 
mindf**ker as Moon, but it plays with the 
same idea. At the end, you’ll go, ‘What 
was that about? That film was nuts!’ ” 


SPIDERS 

(continued from page 79) 

goes over to a dressing table and opens 
the drawer and finds a spider. In oim orig- 
inal script, she opens a cabinet over the 
sink and it’s at eye level, staring at her — 
which happened to me once in Simi Valley. 
Talk about frightening, to have a spider at 
eye level. I had just gotten up that morn- 
ing, and I went in the bathroom stark 
naked and opened the medicine cabinet to 
get my razor, and I screamed! The girl I 
was with walked in there, got a piece of 
Kleenex, squished it and threw it in the 
toilet. Anyway, in the original script the 
entomologist goes up to a cabinet and 
opens it and finds the spider, but they 
changed it to a dressing table and a 
drawer. In both scripts, she had the same 
cool and collected reaction; she was the 
spider expert and they were her friends. 
Just like they were to Bolling in real life 
when she called ’em “the critters.” 

I also liked the gas-station scene with 
Hoke Howell, and Bill Foster as the guy 
with the cow in the back seat of his car. 
Earl was our character [Lodge and Snel- 
ler’s] , a little comedy relief thrown in. 

So the movie worked fine for me. First 
of all, as long as a movie gets made that 
you had something to do with, it makes 
you happy. There isn’t anything in it that 
really peeves me; and I have to be honest, 

I thought [the rewriters] made it better by 
combining the two characters, the lawyer 
and the veterinarian, into one. It made 
more of a star part out of the leading man. 
FANG; According to Kantor, between play- 
ing theatrically and on network TV, King- 
dom made a lot of money. 

LODGE; I made practically no money off of 
it, but I realize now that I got screwed 
more by myself than by them, because of 
my ignorance. But it was still fun. For the 
parade scene in The Honkers, we had 
17,000 people we brought together to be 
on the sidelines, and we had a real 72-unit 
parade that we could actually control and 
run around the block three times to get all 
the shots we needed. I was on the set 
when that happened, and when the drums 
rolled and the band began playing and the 
spectators started screaming and the 
parade started down the street, I had this 
great feeling inside, like, “We’ve really 
done something.” 

The same thing with Kingdom of the 
Spiders: When we were doing the scene of 
the sheriff’s car going down the street and 
all the people panicking, I stood there 
with Jeff SneUer and I said... no, he said... 
no, we both said together, “WeU, by God, 
we did it.” It was only the second time a 
script of min e had been produced, and Jeff 
wasn’t even a professional writer, and nei- 
ther one of us were ever able to “make our 
livings” as writers; so it was just a good 
feeling to see the actualization of what 
we’d written. When there’s only two of ya, 
all alone, and you put all this shit down on 
paper, the fruition of the whole thin 
really kind of fun. 

www.fangoria.com 





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PIUTIRCO (M!l!0 IRENE 

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April Monique Burril Azman Toy with special guests Debbie Rochon & Dai Green 

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GUNNAR HANSEN APRIL MONlQUl RURRII 



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Is In Her 

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